States paid out billions of dollars in pandemic unemployment claims. But according to a new inspector general’s audit, more than 200,000 applicants had claims paid out with their Social Security numbers showing they are deceased.
The report also shows how one million more claims were dispersed to Social Security numbers that were submitted in more than one state. This indicates fraud because the law only allows someone to get their enhanced pandemic unemployment benefits in a single state at a time.
The Washington Times reports:
All told, they accounted for more than $45 billion in potentially bogus unemployment payments during the first two years after the onset of the pandemic, the audit concluded.
Carolyn R. Hantz, an assistant inspector general, said that’s nearly three times the previous estimate issued in June 2021.
Her office made a series of recommendations at that time, and she expressed consternation that the Labor Department’s Employment and Training Administration (ETA) hasn’t fixed things by now.
“As of the date of this alert memorandum, ETA has not taken sufficient action to implement these recommendations,” she wrote. “ETA’s lack of sufficient action significantly increases the risk of even more [unemployment] payments to ineligible claimants.”
She said the problem “needs immediate action.”
According to some estimates, over $200 billion of the $875.2 billion spent on unemployment went to fraudsters. The Labor Department punted requests, blaming the states for the fraud.