81.8 F
West Palm Beach

Fraud contributed to surge in Florida jobless aid claims

The Florida Department of Economic Opportunity says the state is investigating the extent of the problem. It is unknown how many fraudulent claims may have been processed and paid.

Latest

Is a less Trumpy version of Trumpism, the future of the GOP?

Trump lost but populist ideas may continue to animate the Republican Party.

Republicans test history in vote against pandemic relief

Now, just weeks into the Biden presidency, the GOP is gambling that history will repeat itself.

Florida lawmakers face challenges as 60-day session begins

More than 2,500 bills have been filed ahead of the 2021 session.

The Florida Department of Economic Opportunity has deployed fraud-detection software on its mobile app due to fraudulent filings that likely contributed to a recent surge in new unemployment assistance applications, officials said.

Agency spokeswoman Emilie Oglesby said that the state is investigating the extent of the problem. She could not say how many fraudulent claims may have been processed and paid.

“The state takes this very seriously,” Oglesby told the newspaper. “We have noticed a significant increase in the number of new claims over the past couple of weeks.”

- Advertisement -

Every week, the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity reports its estimate of initial applications to the U.S. Department of Labor, which then issues a nationwide unemployment report on Thursdays.

This week, Florida’s totals remained at their highest level since August for the second straight week, according to labor department reports. Florida’s unemployment number climbed from 62,818 to 71,046.

A week earlier, the federal agency reported that claims in Florida had unexpectedly risen from 39,226 to an initial estimate of 57,824. And 39,226 count also represented a significant revision from the 26,599 initially reported on Jan. 21.

Nationwide, unprecedented surges in requests for aid due to pandemic shutdowns strained state unemployment offices, and federal relief made this help for the jobless a richer target for fraud. By November, states across the country said they had paid as much as $36 billion in improper benefits, according to the Labor Department’s Office of Inspector General.

- Advertisement -

Oglesby said that the fraudulent filings are not affecting payments to current unemployment assistance recipients, who must continue to re-certify their eligibility every two weeks to receive their benefits.

“It’s definitely a reflection of how broken the system is,” State Rep. Anna Eskamani of Orange County told the newspaper.

Eskamani, a Democrat, has been closely monitoring failures in the state’s unemployment system since the pandemic began and jobless numbers spiked. Since March, the state has paid approximately $21.6 billion in assistance to about 2.2 million claimants.

- Advertisement -

Fraud contributed to surge in Florida jobless aid claims

- Advertisement -

Videomust watch
Recommended to you

Tyler Cameron: From Jupiter Homeboy to TV Star

Cameron shoots the breeze with Florida Daily Post Arts & Entertainment editor, Sandra Schulman.

More Articles Like ThisRELATED
Recommended to you

- Advertisement -