Published Dec. 20, 2012
The state is joining four other states to serve on the steering committee for the newly formed Unemployment Insurance Integrity Center of Excellence. The center is a partnership between the Labor Department and the National Association of State Workforce Agencies.
Led by the New York Department of Labor, the center was created to identify techniques for deterring unemployment fraud, serve as a clearinghouse for information about fraud schemes, and develop training and technology to help states share solutions and strategies.
“It is truly an honor to have been asked to serve on this national team along with Colorado, New Jersey, Ohio and Washington,” said Abraham J. Turner, executive director of the S.C. agency. “We look forward to working with our sister workforce agencies throughout the nation to tackle the issue of unemployment fraud head on and improve overall program integrity.”
The state agency also was recently awarded $1.8 million from the federal government to focus on fraud prevention and integrity promotion activities. The grant provides funding for a series of projects designed to update technology and business processes to help reduce the potential for error.
In 2011, South Carolina had one of the worst records in the South in handling unemployment insurance, with an improper payment rate of 17.9%. A year later, the rate dropped to 13.8%.
A Labor Department analysis found that nationally about 30% of overpayments went to people who had landed new jobs but continued to receive unemployment checks.
Another 30% of payments went to people who weren’t looking for work, which is required by the rules, and 20% went to people who claimed benefits even though they had been fired for cause or voluntarily quit their jobs.
Intentional fraud was found in only 2.4% of cases, the Labor Department said.