Skip to main content

Research Archive

Welcome to Our Research Archive

Search and filter by content type, issue area, author, and keyword

June 17, 2024

Fixing the Roof on Sunny Days—and Other Lessons in Administering Unemployment Benefits

A recent hearing of the House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Work and Welfare confirmed that the financing of the nation’s Unemployment Insurance (UI) system is enormously complicated. Even the name of the federal payroll tax (FUTA—short for the Federal Unemployment Tax Act that authorizes it and pronounced “few-ta”) is confusing. That complexity sent subcommittee members searching…

April 29, 2024

New “Scorecard” Report Promotes Better Use of Data to Prevent Unemployment Fraud

Criminals inflicted unprecedented fraud on taxpayer benefits during the pandemic, and some of the most abused programs were those that provided temporary federal unemployment benefits. As we documented in a January 2024 report (Pandemic Unemployment Fraud in Context: Causes, Costs, and Solutions), official government tallies of improper payments and fraud stretch toward $200 billion, while unofficial estimates…

February 29, 2024

Recalling Pandemic Lessons on “Self-Certifying” Eligibility

Sometimes what is left unmentioned can be far more important than what is said. A good example is obscure guidance issued last week by the US Department of Labor (DOL) encouraging workforce programs to allow beneficiaries to self-certify their eligibility. That guidance directly affects a handful of programs with limited funding that offer a variety of employment-related…

November 20, 2023

The Next Time States Are “Swimming in Money” Make Them Repay Their Federal Loans

The pandemic was full of firsts, including the first time states received hundreds of billions of federal dollars they could use to shore up their depleted state unemployment insurance (UI) programs. The March 2020 CARES Act provided $150 billion in a flexible “Coronavirus Relief Fund,” whose potential uses included covering states’ “unemployment insurance costs.” Then the March 2021 American…

September 5, 2023

Audit Finds California Continues to Mismanage Unemployment Benefits

A scathing report released by the California State Auditor on August 24 finds that the state’s Economic Development Department (EDD) continues to mismanage the unemployment insurance (UI) program, resulting in “a substantial risk of serious detriment to the State and its residents.” The California Labor and Workforce Development Agency, which oversees EDD, was formerly led by Julie…

September 1, 2023

Despite Staggering Improper Payments, New Labor Department Report Calls for Reviving Pandemic Unemployment Assistance

As America prepares to celebrate Labor Day, it’s timely to wonder what the US Department of Labor (DOL) has been up to. One noteworthy recent action was DOL’s August 21 release of a report on improper payments made by the troubled Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program. PUA was a temporary federal program in 2020 and 2021, which…

August 23, 2023

Labor Department Report Finds Pandemic Unemployment Program Had a Staggering 36 Percent Improper Payment Rate

On August 21, the US Department of Labor (DOL) released its long-awaited “improper payment report” on the troubled Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program. PUA was an unprecedented federal unemployment benefit program that operated from early 2020 through September 2021. Prior reports from the DOL Inspector General and the Government Accountability Office suggested that PUA was subject to historic, but previously unconfirmed, levels…

August 14, 2023

Tracking Plans to Make Pandemic Benefit Expansions Permanent

In 2008, former White House Chief of Staff and Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel famously said what has come to be known as Rahm’s rule: “You never want a serious crisis to go to waste. And what I mean by that [is] it’s an opportunity to do things that you think you could not do before.” It’s clear that…

May 11, 2023

The House Acts to Recover More Pandemic Unemployment Fraud

FacebookTwitterLinkedIn This week, the House is considering Republican-authored legislation (H.R. 1163, the Protecting Taxpayers and Victims of Unemployment Fraud Act) designed to promote more recovery of fraudulent unemployment checks paid during the pandemic, among other purposes. That’s long overdue, since little of potentially $400 billion in such misspending—including an estimated $60 billion or more in fraud, according to the Government Accountability Office—has…