Pennsylvania labor secretary reports $570 million in unemployment insurance fraud during pandemic

In testimony before the House Labor and Industry Committee on Feb. 10, 2022, Pennsylvania Secretary of Labor and Industry Jennifer Berrier estimated that the state paid $570 million of fraudulent unemployment insurance benefits from March 1, 2020, through Sept. 30, 2021. The fraudulent payments represented about 6.3% of the total unemployment insurance payments made during the same period.

Unemployment insurance refers to a joint federal and state program that provides temporary monetary benefits to eligible laid-off workers who are actively seeking new employment. Qualifying individuals receive unemployment compensation as a percentage of their lost wages in the form of weekly cash benefits while they search for new employment.

The federal government oversees the general administration of state unemployment insurance programs. The states control the specific features of their unemployment insurance programs, such as eligibility requirements and length of benefits.

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