(LibertySociety.com) – During the pandemic, millions of Americans lost their jobs either temporarily or permanently. Those workers turned to their states for unemployment compensation, but many of them met with difficulty. New reports show they weren’t the only ones seeking checks from the government.
According to a February 28 report by the Associated Press, states are grappling with an increase in unemployment fraud. The Labor Department estimated states mistakenly paid over $63 billion to people due to mistakes and fraud. California’s fraudulent payouts equaled roughly $11 billion, with another $19 billion going to suspicious accounts. People whose identities were stolen are now finding out they were fraud victims as they receive tax documents.
Officials in Ohio warned that the increase in fraud is causing the delay of legitimate claims.
JUST IN: @OhioJFS believes nearly 1/3 of the unemployment claims made last week were fraudulent. A spokesperson says, "Unfortunately, due to the increase in fraudulent claims, some legitimate claims may be delayed as we deploy new and enhance existing fraud detection tools." pic.twitter.com/gO2feBSmSG
— Hannah Catlett (@ReporterHannah) February 25, 2021
Rep. Kevin Brady (R-TX) called the increase in fraud “frightening.” He said the $63 billion is “larger than the entire” Homeland Security budget. Now, as Congress and the Biden administration prepare to pass a bill to send out another round of enhanced unemployment, states face the possibility of another wave.
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