Oops; U.S. “Overpaid” $14 Bil In Jobless Benefits
Following various reports of jailed convicts and illegal immigrants receiving unemployment checks from U.S. taxpayers, the Obama Administration is admitting that in fiscal year 2011 the government “overpaid” around $14 billion in benefits.
That’s a chunk of change for a nation suffering through a painful debt crisis that’s topped $15 trillion. Like most bloated government programs, the Department of Labor’s (DOL) unemployment benefits— paid by state treasuries and the federal government—is rife with fraud and corruption. Various news reports have speculated about this for some time, but now we have the actual DOL figures to prove it.
It turns out that in one year alone, the federal government and states overpaid about $14 billion in unemployment benefits, according to a DOL report featuring Unemployment Insurance Improper Payments. The eight-page document also includes “strategies to get the rate down.” Evidently the DOL has “an aggressive strategic plan to work with states to control unemployment payments.” This includes “a number of robust strategies,” according to the report.
The bottom line is that the damage has been done, even though—get this—last year’s $14 billion in fraudulent payments was actually an 11% decrease compared to the previous year, according the DOL. That’s why the agency refers to the $14 bil as an improvement though American taxpayers may view it somewhat differently.
Corruption has plagued the nation’s out-of-control jobless benefits program for some time and the problem has only gotten worse under the Obama Administration. As far back as 2010, there were reports of unemployment checks going out to illegal immigrants in at least one state as well as other unqualified legal residents and citizens.
Earlier this year a mainstream newspaper reported the unbelievable story of a convicted murderer who for years collected unemployment benefits from jail. In all, the felon, a gangbanger, raked in more than $30,000 in unemployment benefits from 2008 to 2010 while incarcerated in California. When his contacts cashed the $1,600 monthly checks they would deposit a portion into his jail account and he would share some of the money with his fellow jailed gang members.
Of interesting note is that California’s veteran Democratic congresswoman, Nancy Pelosi, pushed hard as Speaker of the House to pass a controversial jobless benefits extension by asserting that it would somehow help create jobs. That’s right; Pelosi actually said that unemployment checks keep the economy churning, which in turn, “creates jobs faster than almost any other initiative you can name.”