REPORT: Fraud overwhelms pandemic-related unemployment programs

March 2, 2021 — Blog    — Coronavirus Bulletin    — Worker and Family Support   

A new report from the Associated Press shows that “fraud is fleecing taxpayers, delaying legitimate payments and turning thousands of Americans into unwitting identity theft victims. Many states have failed to adequately safeguard their systems, and a review by The Associated Press finds that some will not even publicly acknowledge the extent of the problem.” Yet Democrats provided no protections against fraud in their $1.9 trillion bill, and in fact, left out key Republican proposals to prevent it.

Click here to read the story.

The Labor Department inspector general’s office estimates that more than $63 billion has been paid out improperly through fraud or errors — roughly 10% of the total amount paid under coronavirus pandemic-related unemployment programs since March.

“We’re all learning that there is an epidemic of fraud,” said U.S. Rep. Kevin Brady of Texas, the ranking Republican on the House’s powerful Ways and Means Committee. Brady said the $63 billion estimate “is larger than the entire budget of the Department of Homeland Security.”

“These are frightening levels of fraud,” he said.

Key Facts:
• Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA) proposed an amendment that would require states to verify identity and receive documentation of prior wages of applicants for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) before authorizing benefits.

• These safeguards would help prevent fraud and preserve the integrity of our unemployment system.

• By placing safeguards in the eligibility process, this amendment would have preemptively combatted unemployment fraud from ever happening.

• Democrats rejected this commonsense reform and continue to allow widespread fraud to happen.

• Republicans are dedicated to combatting UI fraud and making sure taxpayer dollars are not going to waste.

You can watch Rep. Nunes proposing the amendment during our mark-up here. To see the amendment click here. To read the AP story, click here.

SUBCOMMITTEE: Worker and Family Support