The Unemployment Insurance (UI) program is designed to provide benefits to individuals out of work, generally through no fault of their own, for periods between jobs. Over the past 3 years, the UI program has grown to unprecedented levels, paying nearly $318 billion in benefits to unemployed workers. Of this amount, $126 billion was for federally-funded emergency benefits, comprising Emergency Unemployment Compensation and Federal Additional Compensation. UI’s rate of overpayments (11.2 percent) was the third largest of any benefits program in fiscal year 2010. ETA estimated nearly $32 billion in overpayments occurred over the past 3 years and $17.2 billion of that total should be detectable by the states. Nearly $6.9 billion of the $17.2 billion in detectable overpayments pertained to federally-funded emergency benefits.
The OIG found that ETA did not effectively apply key controls related to the overpayment detection process to federally-funded emergency benefits, leaving this portion of the UI program vulnerable to billions of dollars in undetected overpayments.