Sneak Preview: ETA Urged To Address UI Overpayments

March 15, 2012 | By Jerry Ashworth | Post a Comment

(The following was excerpted from an article in the Single Audit Information Service.) The Employment and Training Administration is requiring states to enhance their quality service plans to prevent, detect and recover improper payments in the Unemployment Insurance (UI) program in response to concerns raised by a Department of Labor Office of Inspector General audit.

Designed to provide benefits to individuals who are out of work for periods between jobs, generally through no fault of their own, the UI program paid about $318 billion from 2008 to 2010. Of that amount, $126 billion was offered through federally funded emergency benefit programs (e.g., Emergency Unemployment Compensation, Federal Additional Compensation). ETA oversees the UI program and is responsible for ensuring that states reject unemployment compensation to ineligible recipients and detect overpayments when they occur.

Each year, ETA estimates the amount of overpayments it believes states should identify though their standard improper payment detection activities. Overpayment may occur, for example, when a beneficiary has gone back to work but is still receiving UI benefits.

Because UI overpayments are not easily detected, ETA established an annual performance measure for states to identify at least 50 percent of the estimated overpayment amount. The agency requires states that do not meet that minimum to include corrective actions in their state quality service plans and milestones for completing those actions. ETA regional officials monitor state efforts toward achieving the performance target.

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