November 2, 2011
DiNapoli: Auditors Prevent Nearly $1.6 Million in Improper Unemployment Insurance Payments
State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli identified nearly $1.6 million in unemployment insurance benefits paid by the Department of Labor (DOL) that either did not comply with federal and state laws or regulations or were processed in error, including payments to 11 deceased individuals, according to a report released today.
"We continue to face tough economic times," DiNapoli said. "Unemployment insurance benefits are the only way some people are making ends meet. We need to make sure every penny we spend on unemployment goes to the right people."
DOL approved more than $9.5 billion in UI payments during 2010. DiNapoli's auditors identified 1,510 inappropriate payment requests and payments in 2010, which included $950,456 in actual benefit overpayments and over $627,000 in potential payments that would have been made had DOL not promptly taken corrective action on the audit. Based on a statistical projection of the errors found, DiNapoli's auditors estimate that DOL approved more than $7.2 million in overpayments during the first nine months of 2010.
The findings were part of DiNapoli's continuous examination of unemployment payment requests processed by DOL. During the audit period, 59 million payments were made to claimants for the UI, Emergency Unemployment Compensation and Extended Benefit programs.
DOL has begun updating its computer system to prevent the processing errors found by auditors. DOL is also working with the Social Security Administration and the Department of Health to stop the payment of benefits after a claimant dies, and is pursuing the recovery of overpayments through various means.
For a copy of the complete audit, go to: http://www.osc.state.ny.us/audits/allaudits/093012/2011bse3a005.pdf