Comptroller uncovers $3 million improperly spent at Dept. of Labor

State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli uncovered up to $3 million in inappropriate unemployment insurance payments made by the Department of Labor (DOL), including payments to recipients who were ineligible because they were employed, had collected more than the maximum weekly benefits or were not authorized to work in the United States, according to a report released today.

“While most unemployment payments are appropriate, my auditors are finding that the amount of inappropriate payments is going up,” DiNapoli said. “Inappropriate payments identified by my auditors for 2012 jumped by over $375,000 from 2011. The Department of Labor must implement stricter controls to make sure taxpayer dollars go to only those individuals who are entitled to these benefits.”

Of the $3 million uncovered by DiNapoli’s auditors, $1.9 million was prevented from being paid and $1.1 million had been paid and DOL should pursue recovery, the report states.

Auditors also matched DOL files with records of newly-hired New York state workers and identified 118 employees who collectively owed $228,075 to DOL for unemployment overpayments.

The Comptroller’s findings included completed or planned payments such as:

  • $1,602,920 to individuals who were employed, deceased, or out of the country;
  • $126,341 to claimants not authorized to work in the United States; and
  • $35,652 in payments exceeding the maximum four days of benefits in the same week.

In response to the Comptroller’s recommendations, DOL has updated procedures to provide clarity to staff, revised processes to reduce and prevent improper payments, and is actively pursuing debts owed as a result of improper payments.

For a copy of the report visit: http://www.osc.state.ny.us/audits/allaudits/bseaudits/2012bse3a001.htm

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