Last September the U.S. Department of Labor announced $100 million in funding to support state efforts to combat unemployment fraud. Now we’re getting a glimpse at how much there has been.
“Fraud is something that is rampant throughout the entire country,” Deputy Labor Commissioner Dante Bartolomeo says.
Bartolomeo says unemployment fraud is not unique to Connecticut.
Over the past year the Connecticut Department of Labor has held about 100,000 claims due to fraud. The most recent were last fall when one out of four applications was identified as fraudulent.
“In Connecticut most of what we’re seeing is identity theft and people trying to take over other people's claims,” she says.
The theft of the benefits took claimants like Allison Vandenburg by surprise last October.
“My account had been compromised and my deposit account had been switched to a Wells Fargo account,” Vandenburg said.
Earlier this month over 20,000 applications were identified as fraudulent, according to the Department of Labor.
It’s a problem for the claimant and for the department.
“Regardless of the multiple systems that we’ve put in, we have to have those manned and have claims individually looked at,” Bartolomeo says.
None of these processes are automated, staff must review all held applications on a case-by-case basis, a time-consuming and labor-intensive process.
“Very labor intensive regardless of the amount of automation there does need to be manual process as well,” she added.