New York State Comptroller audit estimates $11 billion lost in unemployment fraud
ALBANY, NY (WENY)-- A recent audit report from the New York State Comptroller found deficiencies in the management of unemployment insurance fraud during the pandemic.
The report examined claims made through the state's Department of Labor through Jan. 2020 to March 2020. The report found an estimation of $11 billion in improper payments. And some lawmakers said the Department of Labor should have provided better oversight.
“To see that 11 billion dollars in fraud happened under their watch with no oversight is just, it’s criminal. And there needs to be really an investigation into this to see how this happened so something like this will never ever happen again," said Assemblyman Phil Palmesano.
Other state lawmakers agree there should be accountability.
“It’s unfortunate it happened, it’s inexcusable in many circumstances. And quite honestly, I think the average person wants to know what exactly happened. And therefore, I do think we should be doing a review of some sort," said Assemblyman John McDonald III, Chair of the Investigation Committee.
McDonald also said the pandemic did put extra pressure on agencies like the Department of Labor.
In an email to WENY, the Department of Labor stated the pandemic placed an unprecedented amount of stress on unemployment insurance systems nationwide and that they are implementing changes to improve the system and address the audit's findings.
Moving forward, McDonald said there should be a review to factualize the numbers and determine where errors occurred and how they can be corrected. But at this point it is not clear how that will come into play. He said more progress on this issue will likely happen when legislative session starts in January.