Fraud has robbed American workers of $36B in pandemic unemployment payments

Fraud has robbed American workers of $36B in pandemic unemployment payments
U.S. Treasury illustration/LU staff

[Ed. – If government is goal to dole out tax money as a good will gesture, their first priority should be ensuring the payments reach the affected individuals.]

The U.S. has pumped billions of dollars into the unemployment system since the spring — a magnet for criminals that’s led to surging theft and fraud attacks. This has contributed to at least $36 billion being taken from out-of-work Americans.

Now, the federal government and states are clamping down. The $900 billion Covid relief package signed last month adds steps for workers to prove their eligibility for benefits.

But those rules may slow aid to those who need the money, according to labor officials and worker advocates.

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“It’s a little bit of a high wire act,” said Bill McCamley, Cabinet secretary of the New Mexico Department of Workforce Solutions. “Because there’s so much pressure to get money out.”

Most of the theft has focused on Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, a temporary program created by the federal CARES Act in March.

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