U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Ways and Means

02/24/2021 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 02/24/2021 14:55

Neal Emphasizes the Need for the American Rescue Plan to Act on OIG Recommendations to Prevent Identity Thieves from Stealing Unemployment Benefits

Feb 24, 2021
Press Release

WASHINGTON, DC-In response to the U.S. Department of Labor's (DOL) Office of the Inspector General (OIG) audit findings released today, House Ways and Means Chairman Richard E. Neal (D-MA) emphasized the need to pass the American Rescue Plan, which would provide DOL with the necessary resources to implement the urgent fraud-prevention measures recommended by the OIG, while continuing to work with states to ensure that eligible workers get their benefits quickly so they can pay for basic necessities.

'The federal unemployment benefits have been a crucial lifeline to the millions of jobless Americans, but some bad actors have used stolen Social Security Numbers and other personal identity information to steal federal unemployment benefits,' Chairman Neal emphasized. 'When drafting this COVID relief package, the Ways and Means Committee took an aggressive stance to stop these criminals while keeping unemployment benefits fully available to the workers who need them. The American Rescue Plan includes $2 billion to fund the staff and tools the Department of Labor needs to work with states and take decisive action to prevent benefit theft. As evidenced in today's audit results, any delay in action on this package will limit the Department from taking the specific actions we know would reduce fraudulent payments. I'm grateful to the dedicated public servants at the OIG who identified these patterns and specific actions to address them, and also to the Biden Administration for working with us to craft a strategy that will allow the Department of Labor to act quickly on these and future fraud-prevention strategies.'

Neal continued with: 'My Ways and Means colleagues, and especially Worker and Family Support Subcommittee Chair Danny K. Davis (D-IL), Rep. Dan Kildee (D-MI), Rep. Stephanie Murphy (D-FL), and Rep. Steven Horsford (D-NV), tirelessly advocated for this investment to be included in the American Rescue Plan. I urge all of my colleagues to support this package, so together, we can protect workers who need unemployment benefits while safeguarding taxpayer resources.'