Millions of Americans were out of work during the pandemic, especially in its earliest days. In April 2020, the unemployment rate hit 15 percent. To help people who were unemployed, Congress passed three unemployment assistance programs. Two of the programs increased existing benefits, while the other expanded benefits to people like self-employed and gig workers, who typically aren’t eligible. As of April, 2022, approximately $664 billion had gone out to the states. See how much unemployment insurance your state received.
Here’s a look at some programs designed to help individuals and businesses recover financially from the pandemic. Some ended as required by law, and others ran out of money and are no longer accepting applications.
Each state manages and funds its own unemployment benefits program according to federal guidelines.
The PRAC’s Data Sharing Working Group recently collaborated with subject matter experts from government agencies in the United States, the United Kingdom, and Australia to share the data tools and techniques they use to help protect pandemic relief dollars.
Today, Michael E. Horowitz, Chair of the Pandemic Response Accountability Committee (PRAC) announced the public release of an updated dataset of Coronavirus Relief Fund (CRF) spending by states, eligible local governments, Tribal governments, the District of Columbia, and U.S. Territories.
Michael E. Horowitz, Chair of the Pandemic Response Accountability Committee (PRAC), announced the release of the PRAC’s Semiannual Report to Congress. The report covers the period from October 1, 2020 through March 31, 2021.
The Inspectors General (IG) community is committed to holding those who defraud the American public accountable. Offices of Inspectors General (OIGs) and their investigators have been central in bringing charges against 250 of the 474 who allegedly defrauded the Paycheck Protection Program, Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program, and Unemployment Insurance.
Expansion of unemployment programs and the easing of some eligibility requirements under the CARES Act have led to increased fraud – especially identity theft. Some people who would not have normally been eligible to receive regular unemployment benefits became eligible for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA). In addition, U.S. Department of Labor rules allowed people to receive benefits prior to their filing claims.
Two different pandemic response programs used self-certification by applicants as a primary requirement to determine eligibility and experienced increased fraud due to that requirement. The Small Business Administration (SBA) and Department of Labor (DOL) Offices of Inspectors General (OIG) found in recent reports that self-certification is a major fraud risk that cuts across program and agency boundaries.