The Department of Labor (DOL) failed to prevent billions of dollars in improper payments within two of its unemployment welfare programs, according to a federal report Monday.
The DOL oversee several welfare type programs designed to help workers who have lost their jobs. The Office of Inspector General (OIG) found the department could failed to prevent billions of dollars in fraud and other improper payments within the Unemployment Insurance (UI) and the Federal Employees Compensation Act (FECA) programs.
“The UI benefit program’s estimated annual improper payments for FY 2015 were $3.5 billion (10.73 percent), consisting of $3.4 billion in overpayments plus $146 million in underpayments,” the report found. “For the FECA program, estimated annual improper payments were $85.7 million (2.87 percent), consisting of $81.22 million in overpayments plus $4.51 million in underpayments.”
The UI helps workers who have lost their jobs by providing a temporary income while the FECA program helps those who were injured during performance their jobs. The report also found improper payments to the Workforce Investment Act program that provides job training. It notes the UI program has improved since the last report but FECA remains an issue.
“For the FECA program, the improper payment estimates reported by DOL may have continued to understate the reported improper payment rate because the estimation methodology excluded two types of payments,” the report continued. “Initial payments made in the first 90 days of a compensation claim and payments made on claims initiated prior to November 2000.”
The OIG report notes the problems aren’t new and that early recommendations have yet to be implemented. It decided not to make any new recommendations but rather urge the department to implement what it has already suggested which the department committed to doing in previous reports.
“OIG issued three prior reports with recommendations to help DOL better prevent and recover improper payments,” the report also stated. “The five recommendations OIG made in prior reports remain unimplemented and continue to address the concerns raised in this report. We are not making any additional recommendations in this report.”
The OIG previously recommended the department include all payments in its report including those made within the first 90 days or someone entering the programs. It also suggested the department improve its methods for keeping track of fraud when it is reported by state and other agencies.
The DOL did not respond to a request for comment by The Daily Caller News Foundation.
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