WorkForce West Virginia Needs More Resources and Flexibility | Newspaper
Lawmakers in West Virginia learned on Sunday that a state audit showed nearly $ 8.3 million in fraudulent unemployment claims paid during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Other states have also seen similar fraudulent activity in their unemployment insurance programs,” the West Virginia audit noted. For comparison, the Ohio State auditor estimates that more than $ 475 million in fraudulent unemployment benefits have been paid to criminals, with an additional $ 3.3 billion overpaid. -paid, between March 2020 and February 2021.
But while the Mountain State may not be working to recoup the types of losses some surrounding states have suffered, there remains a problem.
How can we make sure WorkForce West Virginia is more flexible and prepared if something of this magnitude hits us again? And why the hell didn’t the agency consider at least working with other state agencies to verify whether those filing unemployment claims on behalf of state employees were accurate, or what if the Corrections Division housed someone whose name was used on a claim?
Factors affecting WorkForce West Virginia included a jump from nearly $ 53,000 in 2019 to over $ 457,000 in 2020, while at the same time, President Donald Trump’s administration pressured states to provide quickly money to those who needed it.
“This sharp increase in complaints has overtaken WorkForce staff and the agency’s ability to properly review and process complaints,” the legislative audit said.
In April, WorkForce West Virginia announced that nearly $ 122,000 had been recovered, with an additional $ 3-4 million expected to be repaid this year. It is also a lot of work; and officials are to be commended for doing so.
In the meantime, lawmakers can help the agency put in place better flexibility, resources and communication channels to avoid the same problems in the future.