Report Shows Improper Payment of TN Unemployment Benefits
NASHVILLE, Tenn.- Unemployment
remains high this holiday season, but a new report is raising concerns about
oversight, and whether some are "gaming the system."
A Department of Labor
study found that Tennessee is one of the worst states, when it comes to
oversight on those getting unemployment benefits. In fact, Tennessee tied with
Mississippi for the 11th worst in the nation.
In the study, analysts
found an improper payment rate of nearly 15 percent. That's the percentage of
people who received benefits improperly or unlawfully.
That comes out to
overpayments of more than $300 million spanning the past three years. The state
official overseeing Tennessee's unemployment benefits says the term "improper
payment" is misleading.
"That does not mean it was
an overpayment, or the individual was not necessarily eligible for
unemployment. It just means there was something
missing in the process," said Don Ingram with the Tennessee Department of
Security Administrator Don Ingram says a computer glitch caused many of the
improper payment issues, but it has been fixed. Ingram showed NewsChannel 5 a
report by a special task force to address the government's concerns. The task
force addressed a criticism that Tennessee only tracks 10 percent of people
receiving unemployment benefits.
Ingram says part of the
problem was the high number of new applicants, following the crash in 2008.
"We went from 30,000
individuals on unemployment per week to a high of 180,000 individuals on
"To require individuals to
come into a career center one on one would just not be feasible based on the
staff that we have," Ingram explained.
Ingram says Tennessee law
does not require the state to track people, but that is going to change. He
says the state has applied for a federal grant to improve job service
Wednesday, June 19 2013 2:24 PM EDT2013-06-19 18:24:42 GMT
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