U.S. Department of Labor Issues Guidance and Reminders to States To Ensure Integrity of Unemployment Insurance Programs
WASHINGTON, DC – The U.S. Department of Labor today issued targeted guidance and reminders that provide states with details regarding required integrity functions for their regular unemployment compensation programs, as well as those authorized by Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation and Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act, in UIPL 23-20. The guidance aims to help states guard against fraud and abuse of their unemployment insurance systems.
“As states implement the various provisions of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act to provide benefits to eligible applicants, they must exercise due diligence at all times in the administration of their programs to protect the integrity of the unemployment insurance system,” said Assistant Secretary for Employment and Training John P. Pallasch. “As the stewards of taxpayer dollars, states and localities have an obligation to spot and detect waste and fraud in the unemployment insurance system and report it to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Inspector General and other appropriate channels,” Pallasch added.
To protect the program integrity of the regular unemployment compensation program, states must maintain weekly certification processes to verify the continuing eligibility of the program’s claimants and must complete required checks for interstate wages. The department also requires that states maintain these key eligibility determination processes for regular unemployment compensation claims to conform and substantially comply with federal unemployment compensation laws. States are also required to implement the same program integrity activities used for the regular unemployment compensation program for the CARES Act programs, such as verifying identity and cross matching with certain databases designed to prevent and detect improper payments and fraud.
To ensure program integrity, the CARES Act includes an appropriation of $26 million to the department’s Office of Inspector General (OIG) to carry out audits, investigations, and other oversight activities related to states’ adherence to existing unemployment insurance laws and policies, as well as the provisions of the CARES Act. This funding represents a nearly 30 percent increase in appropriations for the OIG, whose FY 2020 budget appropriation was just over $90 million. States should expect significant oversight, review and scrutiny of their unemployment compensation programs’ integrity.
Today’s guidance is not intended to be an exhaustive list of federal requirements, and the department encourages states to contact its Employment and Training Administration (ETA) for technical assistance on coronavirus-related issues and to please copy your Regional ETA Office on the email.
For further information about the coronavirus, please visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The mission of the Department of Labor is to foster, promote and develop the welfare of the wage earners, job seekers and retirees of the United States; improve working conditions; advance opportunities for profitable employment; and assure work-related benefits and rights.