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Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez

News Release

More than $39 million in grants awarded to improve performance, integrity of state unemployment insurance programs and reduce worker misclassification

43 states, District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico receive funding

WASHINGTON — More than $39.3 million in federal grants awarded today will enhance unemployment insurance programs in 45 states and territories, and reduce the misclassification of employees as independent contractors, the U.S. Department of Labor announced.

The funding will help prevent and detect improper benefit payments, improve program performance, address outdated information technology systems, and combat employee misclassification that underpays and denies benefits to workers and hurts local economies.

"For more than 80 years, the unemployment insurance system has been a crucial lifeline for millions of working people who lost their job through no fault of their own," said U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez. "These grants will help states use every tool at its disposal to ensure payments are available to those who are eligible, and take important steps to reduce and recover improper payments. The funds will also identify new ways to level the playing field for responsible employers."

The grants awarded today fall into three categories:

Program Integrity and Performance Improvement: Grantees must implement or commit to expand the usage of the State Information Data Exchange System to qualify. In addition, grantees may use funding to implement or expand their use of the Treasury Offset Program; information technology security projects; strategies to reduce improper payments received after a claimant returns to work or through fraud; and other strategies approved by the department.

Consortium Projects:Two grants totaling approximately $8.7 million are being awarded to state consortia to support modernized unemployment insurance information technology systems and to improve overall program quality, performance, and integrity and to reduce costs using a multi-state approach.

Worker Misclassification Grants: For the second year, the department is awarding grants to increase the ability of state unemployment insurance tax programs to identify instances where employers improperly classify employees as independent contractors or fail to report the wages paid to workers at all. In addition to denying workers access to critical benefits and protections to which they are entitled, worker misclassification generates substantial losses to state unemployment insurance funds. States will use these grants for a variety of improvements and initiatives, including enhancing employer audit programs and conducting employer education initiatives. The Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act of 2015 authorized funding for "activities to address the misclassification of workers." The department awarded grants up to $500,000 on a competitive basis.

Editor's note: A complete list of funds awarded follows this release.

State

Program Integrity & Performance Improvement

Consortium Projects

Worker Misclassification

Total

Alabama

$388,875

 

$499,988

$888,863

Alaska

$499,985

 

 

$499,985

California

$450,633

 

$336,420

$787,053

Colorado

$500,000

 

 

$500,000

Connecticut

$500,000

$2,112,092*

 

$2,612,092

Delaware

$384,307

 

$379,415

$763,722

District of Columbia

$500,000

 

$276,310

$776,310

Florida

$500,000

 

 

$500,000

Georgia

$486,804

 

$500,000

$986,804

Hawaii

$500,000

 

 

$500,000

Idaho

$499,984

 

$191,036

$691,020

Illinois

$500,000

 

 

$500,000

Indiana

$499,974

 

$499,530

$999,504

Iowa

$500,000

 

$500,000

$1,000,000

Kansas

$181,004

 

$500,000

$681,004

Kentucky

$500,000

 

$500,000

$1,000,000

Louisiana

$500,000

 

$500,000

$1,000,000

Maine

$500,000

$500,000*

 

$1,000,000

Maryland

$499,840

$1,842,632**

 

$2,342,472

Massachusetts

 

 

$269,215

$269,215

Mississippi

$499,375

$1,589,154*

$500,000

$2,588,529

Missouri

$315,503

 

$429,030

$744,533

Montana

$999,895

 

 

$999,895

Nebraska

$500,000

 

 

$500,000

New Hampshire

$487,817

 

$210,744

$698,561

New Jersey

$500,000

 

 

$500,000

New Mexico

$499,600

 

 

$499,600

New York

$500,000

 

$500,000

$1,000,000

North Carolina

$500,000

 

 

$500,000

North Dakota

$499,958

 

 

$499,958

Ohio

$454,946

 

 

$454,946

Oregon

$500,000

 

$500,000

$1,000,000

Pennsylvania

$499,961

 

$493,075

$993,036

Puerto Rico

$499,999

 

 

$499,999

Rhode Island

$359,917

$1,500,000*

$500,000

$2,359,917

South Carolina

$500,000

 

 

$500,000

South Dakota

$500,000

 

 

$500,000

Tennessee

$500,000

 

 

$500,000

Texas

$500,000

 

 

$500,000

Utah

$131,523

 

$499,982

$631,505

Vermont

$500,000

 

 

$500,000

Virginia

$500,000

 

$499,320

$999,320

Washington

$325,000

 

$415,935

$740,935

West Virginia

$172,967

$1,157,368**

 

$1,330,335

Wisconsin

$500,000

 

$500,000

$1,000,000

Total

$20,637,867

$8,701,246

$10,000,000

$39,339,113

* A consortium including Mississippi, Connecticut, Maine, and Rhode Island received a total grant award of $5,701,246.
** A consortium including Maryland and West Virginia received a total grant award of $3,000,000.

ETA News Release: [09/22/2015]
Contact Name: David Roberts or Joe Versen
Phone Number: (202) 693-5945 or x4696
Email:
Roberts.David@dol.gov or Versen.Joseph.H@dol.gov
Release Number: 15-1888-NAT