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NC lawmakers meet on unemployment fraud prevention

Posted April 3, 2012

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— North Carolina House members want to know how to better discourage people from trying to obtain unemployment benefits unlawfully.

In the first meeting of the House Unemployment Fraud Task Force on Tuesday, officials said fraudulent applications in 2011 totaled about $18 million, which was more than double the total in 2006, before the recession hit.

Division of Employment Security leaders say they're taking extra steps to find and reject bad claims. But the state still paid out about $12 million last year for fraudulent claims, which was about 2.5 percent of all benefits.

An audit by the U.S. Labor Department found that North Carolina overpaid jobless benefits by $534 million from 2008 to 2011. State officials said about 45 percent of the overpayments were because of fraud, with people collecting benefits after they had found a job and returned to work. Another 34 percent occurred because businesses didn't submit the proper information about former employees.

House Speaker Thom Tillis created the task force a month ago to gather recommendations before the full General Assembly reconvenes for its budget-adjusting session in May. Committee members also want to find ways to make the new Division of Employment Security run more efficiently than its predecessor.

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  • mikeyj Apr 3, 2012

    teddyspaghetti@1:33 You are right but I am going to tack on no accountability. The ones overpaid should be forced to nickle and dime payments back in full just as I had to do with to much credit and my wife had to do with a DRs lab tests. I have been in here before screaming about and a previous poster brought up today. Time to start the pee tests for welfare.

  • muggs Apr 3, 2012

    With employers having to send quarterly reports I fail to see how someone working could get away with receiving a pay check and unemployment for very long their SS number would or should send up a red flag,well I guess that is if someone is checking and apparently by the number of illegals that is not getting done either.

  • whatusay Apr 3, 2012

    Hire some competent workers. Don't let these workers review relatives or friends. Put some incentives in place for performance for employees with the lowest number of fraud cases. Many people correct unemployment benefits and work at the same time.....

    99 weeks is the major problem though, people become dependent on it and actually believe they should be paid by gov't to "not work". 10 weeks max within a 3 year period. Use some common sense, people should work or move in with grandma or grandpa or their neighbor or whoever will support them for doing nothing.

  • muggs Apr 3, 2012

    Actually the ESC is probably at fault for this happening and it has been an unusual several years but the other social programs ran by the state have been doing far worse in allowing corruption and for a much ,much longer time,but it seems that they are going to go after who ever they think will be able reimburse them,such as working people,yet the welfare and other programs will be less scrutinized.

  • teddyspaghetti Apr 3, 2012

    several things to think about:
    1 - You get what you pay for! This computer system was hired out to the lowest bidder.
    2 - The waste/fraud/abuse that goes on INSIDE government offices would make your head spin! Managers are not held accountable for mistakes and neither are the employees.
    3 - I wonder how many of the computer programmers were actually citizens and how many were H1-B visa holders?? How many of the requirement gatherers actually knew the business and how many just made up the rules "on the fly"?

    NC somehow finds a way to mess up everything it touches and still promotes the managers.....look at any state initiaative.....they ALL are epic failures!

  • dollibug Apr 3, 2012

    +++ wonder how many other states are having so much trouble with paying more than they should be? are other states owing like nc is?
    computer trainer

    I believe most of the problems are "government issues"....perhaps no one is taking time to review what is going on....supervisors do not do the job they are suppose to do...

  • computer trainer Apr 3, 2012

    i wonder how many other states are having so much trouble with paying more than they should be? are other states owing like nc is?

  • storchheim Apr 3, 2012

    Blame it on a bad computer program if you want to, but remember people determine the logic, rules and outcomes for each case, then people code the logic, then people test the logic and verify that it does what they determined it should do. Either they're very, very incompetent or they did this deliberately.

    And no one lost their job. Not even the head, who stepped down a couple months after being subpoena'd because she refused to show up voluntarily and explain herself. She was allowed to resign and no doubt collect her pension and benefits.

    Go into any ESC office and you'll understand immediately why it would be non-PC to pursue the perps of this crime. The kicker is, there are plenty of people unemployed - myself among them - who would and could tear into this wretched computer and FIX IT. But just like at the previous agency I worked for, they don't want excellence or even competence in the rank and file.

  • tarheelgrad1998 Apr 3, 2012

    Stop handing money out like it was candy, and the fraud will also be less.

  • dollibug Apr 3, 2012

    It is funny just how things can get blamed on something/someone else....no one take the responsibility of anything that happens....it is this way in the entire government field....all government run agencies....when a MISTAKE IS MADE....no one is going to "take charge and get it resolved"....instead they are going to put it off and wait for it to resolve itself....interesting how the government works now, isn't it????
    Perhaps this is what the government is in such a MESS..

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