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James McAllister

James McAllister is a staff writer at Ballotpedia. Contact us at editor@ballotpedia.org.

New York audit indicates over $11 billion in unemployment insurance was stolen during the coronavirus pandemic

The New York Division of State Government Accountability (DSGA) released the results of an audit of the state’s unemployment insurance system on November 15 that indicated over $11 billion were lost to fraud between April 2020 and March 2021.

During that time, the audit said the state paid about $76.3 billion in total unemployment insurance payments. The DSGA also noted the federal government’s estimate of New York’s unemployment insurance fraud rate rose to 14.48% from the previous financial year’s 4.51% estimate. If the federal government’s fraud rate estimate is accurate, about $11 billion were lost to fraud between April 2020 to March 2021.

The DSGA report also said Department of Labor officials ignored reports in 2010 and 2015 that warned of outdated unemployment insurance digital infrastructure. New York Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli said in a statement that the labor department’s outdated software left the state unprepared for the volume of unemployment insurance claims during the pandemic, so “[t]he agency resorted to stop-gap measures to paper over problems, and this proved to be costly to the state, businesses, and New Yorkers.”

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.

For more information on unemployment insurance fraud in New York, click here. For information about unemployment insurance fraud across the country, click here.

Additional reading:



U.S. weekly unemployment insurance claims fall to 222,000

New applications for U.S. unemployment insurance benefits fell 4,000 for the week ending November 12 to a seasonally adjusted 222,000. The previous week’s figure was revised up from 225,000 to 226,000. The four-week moving average as of November 12 rose to 221,000 from a revised 219,000 as of the week ending November 5.

The number of continuing unemployment insurance claims, which refers to the number of unemployed workers who filed for benefits at least two weeks ago and are actively receiving unemployment benefits, rose 13,000 from the previous week’s revised number to a seasonally adjusted 1.507 million for the week ending November 5. Reporting for continuing claims lags one week.

Unemployment insurance is 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.

Additional reading:



Appeals court extends block of Biden administration’s student loan forgiveness plan

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit on November 14 extended its pause on the Biden administration’s plan to forgive up to $20,000 of federal student loan debt per borrower. The court initially blocked the plan on Oct. 21, and forgiveness will remain frozen until the court reviews an appeal from six states suing the administration. The states argue the executive branch does not have the power to forgive student loans without the approval of Congress.

The appeal came after U.S. District Judge Henry Autrey ruled on Oct. 20 that the states did not sufficiently demonstrate that the forgiveness plan harmed them, so they did not, in his view, have the standing to sue. The states argued that the administration’s forgiveness plan would harm their investments and reduce their tax revenues, which was, in their view, a sufficient basis to sue.

The six states (Arkansas, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, and South Carolina) filed a joint lawsuit against the Biden administration on September 29. The states alleged the administration overstepped its executive authority under the HEROES Act. The states also argued that the Department of Education was legally required to collect student loans and could not stop collecting without congressional approval.

Of the six states, five have Republican trifectas and one (Kansas) has a divided government. All of the states except Iowa have Republican attorneys general.

If the forgiveness plan survives court challenges, it will cancel $10,000 in student loan debt per person for individual tax filers making less than $125,000 or married filers with less than $250,000 in income. Pell Grant recipients are eligible to have an additional $10,000 forgiven under the plan.

Additional reading:

State responses to federal mandates

Court cases related to federalism

Legislation related to federalism



U.S. weekly unemployment insurance claims rise to 225,000

New applications for U.S. unemployment insurance benefits rose 7,000 for the week ending November 5 to a seasonally adjusted 225,000. The previous week’s figure was revised up from 217,000 to 218,000. The four-week moving average as of November 5 fell to 218,750 from a revised 219,000 as of the week ending October 29.

The number of continuing unemployment insurance claims, which refers to the number of unemployed workers who filed for benefits at least two weeks ago and are actively receiving unemployment benefits, rose 6,000 from the previous week’s revised number to a seasonally adjusted 1.493 million for the week ending October 29. Reporting for continuing claims lags one week.

Unemployment insurance is 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.

Additional reading:

Unemployment insurance

Unemployment insurance fraud



Appeals court temporarily blocks Biden administration’s student loan forgiveness plan

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit on Oct. 21 temporarily blocked the Biden administration’s plan to forgive up to $20,000 of federal student loan debt per borrower. The forgiveness will remain frozen until the court reviews an appeal from six states suing the administration. The states allege the executive branch does not have the power to forgive student loans without the approval of Congress.

The appeal came after U.S. District Judge Henry Autrey ruled that the states did not sufficiently demonstrate that the forgiveness plan harmed them, so they did not, in his view, have the standing to sue. The states argued that the administration’s forgiveness plan would harm their investments and reduce their tax revenues, which was, in their view, a sufficient basis to sue.

The six states (Arkansas, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, and South Carolina) filed a joint lawsuit against the Biden administration on September 29. The states alleged the administration overstepped its executive authority under the HEROES Act. The states also argued that the Department of Education was legally required to collect student loans and could not stop collecting without congressional approval.

Of the six states, five have Republican trifectas and one (Kansas) has a divided government. All of the states except Iowa have Republican attorneys general.

If the forgiveness plan survives court challenges, it will cancel $10,000 in student loan debt per person for individual tax filers making less than $125,000 or married filers with less than $250,000 in income. Pell Grant recipients are eligible to have an additional $10,000 forgiven under the plan.

Additional reading:

  1. Court cases related to federalism
  2. Legislation related to federalism


U.S. weekly unemployment insurance claims rise to 217,000

New applications for U.S. unemployment insurance benefits rose 3,000 for the week ending October 22 to a seasonally adjusted 217,000. The previous week’s figure was unrevised at 214,000. The four-week moving average as of October 22 rose to 219,000 from an unrevised 212,250 as of the week ending October 15.

The number of continuing unemployment insurance claims, which refers to the number of unemployed workers who filed for benefits at least two weeks ago and are actively receiving unemployment benefits, rose 55,000 from the previous week’s revised number to a seasonally adjusted 1.438 million for the week ending October 15. Reporting for continuing claims lags one week.

Unemployment insurance is 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.

Additional reading:

  1. Unemployment insurance
  2. Unemployment insurance fraud


U.S. weekly unemployment insurance claims fall to 214,000

New applications for U.S. unemployment insurance benefits fell 12,000 for the week ending October 15 to a seasonally adjusted 214,000. The previous week’s figure was revised down from 228,000 to 226,000. The four-week moving average as of October 15 rose to 212,250 from a revised 211,000 as of the week ending October 7.

The number of continuing unemployment insurance claims, which refers to the number of unemployed workers who filed for benefits at least two weeks ago and are actively receiving unemployment benefits, rose 21,000 from the previous week’s revised number to a seasonally adjusted 1.385 million for the week ending October 7. Reporting for continuing claims lags one week.

Unemployment insurance is 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.

Additional reading:



Trial held in six-state lawsuit against Biden administration student loan forgiveness

James Campbell, a lawyer from the Nebraska Attorney General’s office, represented six states in a trial on October 12 to block the Biden administration’s plan to forgive up to $20,000 of federal student loan debt in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri.

Campbell argued that the administration’s proposal would harm the investments and tax revenues of the states he was representing. He also argued the Department of Education did not have the authority under the Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solution (HEROES) Act to forgive federal student loan debts.

Brian Netter, the lawyer representing the U.S. Department of Justice, argued that the HEROS Act was designed to allow the executive branch to provide relief related to the coronavirus pandemic. He said increased late debt payments among student loan borrowers justified the forgiveness plan under the law.

U.S. District Judge Henry Autrey is presiding over the case and has not yet released a decision.

Six states (Arkansas, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, and South Carolina) filed a joint lawsuit against the Biden administration on September 29. The states alleged the administration overstepped its executive authority and was “not remotely tailored to address the effects of the pandemic on federal student loan borrowers.” The states also argued that the Department of Education was legally required to collect student loans and could not stop collecting without congressional approval.

Of the six states, five have Republican trifectas and one (Kansas) has a divided government. All of the states except Iowa have Republican attorneys general.

If the forgiveness plan survives court challenges, it will cancel $10,000 in student loan debt per person for individual tax filers making less than $125,000 or married filers with less than $250,000 in income. Pell Grant recipients are eligible to have an additional $10,000 forgiven under the plan.

Additional reading:

Court cases related to federalism

Legislation related to federalism



U.S. weekly unemployment insurance claims rise to 219,000

New applications for U.S. unemployment insurance benefits rose 9,000 for the week ending October 8 to a seasonally adjusted 228,000. The previous week’s figure was unrevised at 219,000. The four-week moving average as of October 8 rose to 211,500 from an unrevised 206,500 as of the week ending October 1.

The number of continuing unemployment insurance claims, which refers to the number of unemployed workers who filed for benefits at least two weeks ago and are actively receiving unemployment benefits, rose 3,000 from the previous week’s revised number to a seasonally adjusted 1.368 million for the week ending October 1. Reporting for continuing claims lags one week.

Unemployment insurance is 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.

Additional reading:



California governor vetoes unemployment insurance for undocumented immigrants

California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) vetoed a bill on September 28 that would have extended unemployment insurance benefits to undocumented immigrants and those in the country illegally under what was called the Excluded Workers Pilot Program. Newsom cited the price of the program as the reason for his veto.

About 140,000 undocumented workers would have been eligible for benefits under the program. The program would have allowed immigrants who could not legally work in the United States to claim up to $300 per week for a maximum of 20 weeks if applicants could prove:

  1. They were California residents.
  2. They had been unemployed for at least one week.
  3. They were ineligible for regular state unemployment insurance benefits.

The Employment Development Department would have administered the program separately from the state’s regular unemployment insurance program, which the agency administers for individuals who live in California and can legally work in the United States. Under the regular program, unemployment insurance claimants can receive up to $450 per week for a maximum of 26 weeks.

Unemployment insurance is 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.

Additional reading:

Unemployment insurance

Unemployment insurance fraud

Unemployment insurance in California