Washington, D.C. — Senator Ted Budd (R-NC) has co-sponsored S. 1587, the Protecting Taxpayers and Victims of Unemployment Fraud Act.
The bill would help recover funds lost to unemployment insurance (UI) fraud and provide incentives for states to recover fraudulent payments.
The bill was originally introduced by Senators Mike Crapo (R-ID) and Todd Young (R-IN).
The House version of the bill was led by Rep. Jason Smith (R-MO) and passed the chamber on May 11, 2023.
Sen. Budd said in a statement:
“To date, more than $400 billion in COVID-19 funding has been stolen or wasted. Every taxpayer dollar is sacred and should be treated that way. I’m proud to join Senators Crapo and Young in offering this legislation to clawback fraudulent unemployment payments.”
- The Government Accountability Office (GAO) estimated that, “during the pandemic, total fraud in [UI] programs was over $60 billion and perhaps much higher.”
- An Associated Press analysis found that, “fraudsters potentially stole more than $280 billion in COVID-19 relief funding; another $123 billion was wasted or misspent. Combined, the loss represents 10% of the $4.2 trillion the U.S. government has so far disbursed in COVID relief aid.”
- The Protecting Taxpayers and Victims of Unemployment Fraud Act would:
- Allow states to keep 25% of recovered fraudulent overpayments of federal funds.
- Allow states to use recovered funds to improve program integrity and fraud prevention.
- Allow states to keep 5% of state UI overpayments, conditioned on meeting data matching integrity conditions, and dedicating those funds to preventing future fraud.
- Extend the statute of limitations for criminal charges or civil actions from 5 to 10 years.