March 2, 2023

Young, Colleagues Demand Update on Efforts to Recover Fraudulent Pandemic-Related Unemployment Benefits

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Todd Young (R-Ind.), John Thune (R-S.D.), Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), Steve Daines (R-Mont.), and James Lankford (R-Okla.) sent a letter to U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland and U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) Secretary Martin Walsh requesting an update on the Biden Administration’s efforts to recover fraudulent benefits obtained through the temporary COVID-19 unemployment insurance (UI) programs.

Since the creation of these programs in March 2020 through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act), there have been multiple reports of suspected UI fraud. Most recently, the DOL inspector general testified that nearly $200 billion of COVID-19 UI benefits could have been improper or fraudulent.

“At the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, Congress established temporary COVID-19 unemployment insurance (UI) programs, which provided short-term financial assistance to the millions of Americans that found themselves unemployed through no fault of their own,” the senators wrote. “As well intentioned as the COVID-19 UI programs were, these programs were not immune from waste, fraud, and abuse.

“As members of Congress, we continue to be concerned about the unprecedented amount of COVID-19 UI benefits that were fraudulent, and, presently, we are seeking insight into the effectiveness of these task forces and other efforts by your agencies in recouping fraudulent COVID-19 UI benefits,” the senators continued.

You can read the full letter here.