Analysis: Were half of Covid unemployment benefits stolen? Here's what we know

June 10, 2021 at 21:34

CNN wrote earlier this year about people surprised to get tax bills related to unemployment benefits they had never requested.
The surge in fraud began last year after Congress enacted a historic expansion of unemployment benefits, beefing up payments and opening the program to new categories of jobless Americans.
Eligibility for traditional state benefits has to be verified through an employer.
The FBI warned of stolen identities being used and victims not knowing their information had been used until they themselves applied for unemployment benefits or received tax forms indicating the jobless payments they supposedly had received.
They also sought to distinguish between identify theft fraud, where a person's identity is stolen, with eligibility fraud, where someone who is not eligible requests unemployment benefits.
ID.me confirmed that the biggest target for fraudsters appears to be that new Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program for freelancers and contractors.
They also documented requests on state unemployment systems from Nigeria and China.
The Employment Development Department estimated that 95% of fraudulent claims were in the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program.
The Employment Development Department estimated that 95% of fraudulent claims were in the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program.
Nearly 43,000 claims were found to be illegitimate, but the agency is investigating more than 1 million suspected fraudulent claims.
Nearly 43,000 claims were found to be illegitimate, but the agency is investigating more than 1 million suspected fraudulent claims.
Half of US states have decided to stop accepting the $300 federal supplement to unemployment benefits -- they'd have run out at the end of the summer anyway.
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