Business

ESC overpaid jobless benefits by $534M

Posted September 30, 2011

Employment Security Commission building

— A massive influx in the number of unemployed people in North Carolina contributed to more than $500 million in jobless benefit overpayments, according to a national study.

The U.S. Department of Labor recently audited all states for improper payments of unemployment benefits and found that the North Carolina Employment Security Commission paid out $534 million more than it should have between July 2008 and last June.

The state's overpayment rate of 8.86 percent was below the national average and was far below neighboring states, ESC spokesman Larry Parker said. South Carolina's rate was 17.92 percent, for example, while Virginia's was 17.69 percent and Tennessee's was 14.49 percent.

About 45 percent of the overpayments were because of fraud, with people collecting benefits after they had found a job and returned to work, Parker said. Another 34 percent occurred because businesses didn't submit the proper information about former employees, he said.

The ESC hasn't yet determined how much of the overpayments the state has recovered. The agency has beefed up its ability to identify and recover fraud and is working with 10 other states on a program to identify the best processes for such efforts.

The Labor Department's findings are just the latest problem for the ESC, which has been plagued since last year by computer glitches.

A state audit released in February found that the agency mistakenly paid $147 million in jobless benefits with state funds instead of federal money. Last fall, the ESC was roundly criticized for trying to dock the weekly benefit checks of thousands of unemployed people after overpaying benefits for months because of computer errors.

It's unclear whether any of the ESC overpayments cited in the national study were due to computer problems.

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  • dollibug Sep 30, 7:55 p.m.

    I think this is interesting.....I guess the right hand does not know what the left hand is doing....maybe this is why my worker's comp was denied....even though I was entitled to it....

  • whistler411 Sep 30, 7:47 p.m.

    Sorry, but those folks should have to pay back what they were overpaid.

  • howdiditgettothis Sep 30, 7:26 p.m.

    good luck getting that money back.

  • Rebelyell55 Sep 30, 7:09 p.m.

    One more thing, I'm willing to bet that other than the fraud, that if the records were keep like they were suppose to be, that it would show not only that a lot got under paid, but that the system or someone covered it up...

  • Rebelyell55 Sep 30, 7:06 p.m.

    Still doesn't explain why my claim fell through the cracks and no one will answer my emails now that I'm pressing for an explanation.
    storchheim
    September 30, 2011 6:55 p.m.
    You won't get one either, Every time I went to the local branch with a problem I was told I had to go to Raliegh. The people at Raliegh told me that the local branch can do everything they do and to not let them keep sending to Raliegh. So guess what, I ended up with nothing and even had money taken away, when I asked the lady said, well at least you got something....

  • storchheim Sep 30, 6:55 p.m.

    Ah yes, computer glitches. Gotta love it. Where were the people in charge of testing? You know, those MBAs with 7-10 years of experience?

    Still doesn't explain why my claim fell through the cracks and no one will answer my emails now that I'm pressing for an explanation.

  • Rebelyell55 Sep 30, 6:48 p.m.

    The last six month of drawing I was order to the ESC every month, I even had to go after I was not drawing any benefits. The people there asked my why I was there, I showed them the letter and said, because someone in Raleigh said I had to come up here. So this is no surprise, and I'm still wonder why the head person is still in charge, and why no one has been called on the carpet for this repeat....

  • Rebelyell55 Sep 30, 6:40 p.m.

    Yet this director over the ESC is still in place, no one been fired and the same old same goes on... Make ya wonder don't it...

  • Nancy Sep 30, 6:29 p.m.

    "The state's overpayment rate of 8.86 percent was below the national average and was far below neighboring states, ESC spokesman Larry Parker said. "

    We're supposed to be proud of that I guess.

    I'm not.