Among all of the government’s poor handling of things during the coronavirus pandemic, we are now learning the grotesque levels unemployment fraud reached. This week the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) released a report estimating there could have been more than $60 billion in unemployment insurance fraud during the pandemic.
During the pandemic, the United States Congress created four new unemployment insurance programs, according to the report. The U.S. Department of Labor noted roughly $878 billion in unemployment benefits were paid from April of 2020 through September of 2022.
The Center Square notes the report explains “there was $209 billion in expenditures under the regular unemployment insurance and about $669 billion payouts under the various pandemic unemployment programs, which ended September 6, 2021.”
In the report, the GAO challenged the efforts by the U.S. Department of Labor to combat the fraud. “The Department of Labor has taken steps to address such fraud,” the U.S. Government Accountability Office pointed out. “However, the department has yet to develop an antifraud strategy based on leading practices from GAO’s Fraud Risk Framework as required by law.”
“While these steps help prevent, detect, and respond to fraud, as of December 2022, DOL has not yet developed an antifraud strategy based on leading practices in GAO’s Fraud Risk Framework. Also, it has not yet addressed the six October 2021 recommendations GAO made including to identify, assess the impact of, and prioritize UI fraud risks. These are essential pieces to inform an overall antifraud strategy. Without an antifraud strategy, DOL is not able to ensure that it is addressing the most significant fraud risks facing the UI system in alignment with the Fraud Risk Framework.”