Lawmakers hope for number on unemployment fraud cost

A legislative audit should be released later this week to give an estimate of how much the state has paid in fraudulent unemployment claims. Republicans are frustrated. Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly and others blame decades-old computer technology.

By

State News

February 23, 2021 - 9:03 AM

Register file photo

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas lawmakers hope that a legislative audit to be released later this week will provide an estimate of how much the state has paid out in fraudulent claims for unemployment benefits during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Republicans in the GOP-controlled Legislature remained frustrated Monday with the lack of an estimate from the state Department of Labor for the potential cost of bogus unemployment claims. Their focus on potential fraud has intensified in recent weeks, and they’ve expressed concern that employers, who pay taxes to finance benefits, will be stuck with covering the cost of bogus claims until scammers are caught.

Potential fraud is among multiple problems the Department of Labor has faced in administering both regular and extra pandemic unemployment benefits. Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly and department officials have blamed problems on decades-old computer technology, and she said the department hopes to begin work on upgrades by the end of this year. 

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