Results

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

05/10/2021 | News release | Distributed by Public on 05/10/2021 20:00

Unchecked Unemployment Insurance: Taxpayers Are on the Hook for $60 Billion (and Counting) in Fraud

Unchecked Unemployment Insurance: Taxpayers Are on the Hook for $60 Billion (and Counting) in Fraud

Republicans hear from industry experts, offer safeguards to taxpayer dollars
May 10, 2021 - Blog - Roundtable

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Democrats' expanded unemployment benefits are subjecting the American people to rampant fraud, according to experts at a public Ways and Means panel hosted by Republican Leader for the Subcommittee on Worker and Family Support, Rep. Jackie Walorski (R-IN).

Rep. Walorski introduced the panel by saying: 'Generous unemployment benefits put in place by the CARES Act, including the additional $300 federal supplement are discouraging work and making it hard for employers to hire- and they have become an easy target for criminals.'

Read Rep. Walorski's full opening remarks HERE.

The roundtable featured six experts on unemployment fraud. Key excerpts of their testimony are below.

Watch the full meeting HERE.

Eva Casey Velasquez, President and CEO of the Identity Theft Resource Center, said: 'Unemployment identity theft was the most prevalent [case type last year] … We saw a 4800 percent increase - I'm not misspeaking - that's a 4800 percent increase in just that case type.'

Amy Simon, Chief of Staff and Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary at the Department of Labor's Employment and Training Administration stated: 'After the CARES Act was passed, the unemployment system became a rich target in a way that it had never been previously.'

Doug Swetnam, who serves as Indiana Attorney General's Section Chief for Data Privacy and Identity Theft, said: 'Even before the pandemic struck, identity theft was considered one of, if not the fastest growing crimes in the United States. The billions of dollars pumped into a previously nonexistent distribution system created a once in a lifetime opportunity for every scammer, fraudster, and thief in the world.'

KEY TAKEAWAYS:

Republican Committee Members Have Sounded the Alarm on COVID-Related Fraud for Months

  • Ways and Means Committee Democrats unanimously rejected a proposal offered by Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA) to verify the identity of applicants for unemployment benefits and get documentation prior to sending any money out the door.
  • Requests for a joint hearing on fraud in pandemic-era programs have fallen on deaf ears and letters to the Biden Administration have gone unanswered.

More Than $60 Billion (and Counting) in Improper Payments Have Gone Out Already

  • Top officials at the Labor Department estimate that at least $63 billion and as much as $89 billion in unemployment insurance has been improperly paid out since March 2020, largely due to fraud.
  • Fraud is delaying legitimate payments and turning thousands of Americans into unwitting identity theft victims.

Democrats' War on Work Will Sabotage our Economic Recovery