Officials at the Department of Employment, Rehabilitation and Training say they are still battling ridiculous numbers of fraudulent claims for unemployment and Pandemic Unemployment Assistance benefits.
DETR Director Elisa Cafferata told lawmakers Thursday that a total of 1.9 million applications for PUA benefits have been filed — “95 percent of which we believe to be fraudulent.”
She said the backlog of pending claims totals 253,835 in the PUA program and 52,797 in the regular UI program that are awaiting ID verification before they can be paid.
Chief Economist David Schmidt said those numbers are significantly better than the more than 100,000 pending claims at the peak.
Cafferata said the problem in resolving those pending claims is that every one of them must be individually evaluated.
“There are almost two million applications we’ve had to look at to find the 400,000 legitimate claims,” she said.
That, she said is responsible for the delay many claimants are experiencing in receiving their benefits.
“We hear every day from legitimate claimants that need our help,” Cafferata said. “These criminal claims have delayed legitimate claims.”