LA worst in nation for errors in unemployment claims

Thursday, September 15, 2011 - 5:09am

LOUISIANA - Hundreds of millions of dollars down the drain - that's how much the White House says Louisiana has wasted on improper unemployment payments in just the past three years.

A federal report to curb government fraud, waste and abuse finds Louisiana paid $497 million in bogus or incorrect unemployment claims since 2007. That makes Louisiana the worst in the nation, for unemployment waste.

The report just released Tuesday finds nearly half of all unemployment payments in the state are wrong.

25 percent of payments went to people who've gone back to work. Another 15 percent are traced back to employers, who didn't send in the right information for a former employee's claim.

Now President Obama says he's holding Louisiana accountable and instituting federal monitoring of the payments.

But the Louisiana Workforce Commission sees things differently. In a news release, the commission says our state has cut improper unemployment payments in half since 2010, making Louisiana the most improved in the country.

The federal probe did find Louisiana is on the right track to fix this wasteful spending. The U.S. Labor Department is offering the state $2.4 million dollars to continue its unemployment insurance improvement program. That program is supposed to act as a safe-guard against government waste and fraud.

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