Audit finds overpayments and rule violations by Louisiana Workforce Commission

Louisiana News

BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) – The Louisiana Legislative Auditor is reporting that the Louisiana Workforce Commission may have “violated unemployment benefit program rules.”

Those potential violations center around $2.9 million in payments made earlier this year.

The Louisiana Legislative Auditor is providing details about these payments which were made during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Auditors found that LWC made approximately $2.9 million in payments that potentially violated unemployment benefit program rules outlined in federal and/or state law. Specifically, auditors found that LWC made State and Federal Unemployment Insurance (UI) payments to claimants enrolled in multiple State and Federal UI programs at the same time between March 2020 and April 2021. This resulted in $898,400 in potentially improper payments because enrollment in multiple programs is not allowed under federal law. In addition, LWC made payments for benefit weeks that exceeded the maximum weekly benefit amount set in state and/or federal law. This resulted in $1,976,041 in potentially improper payments for the period February 2020 through April 2021. Auditors also found that LWC made duplicate payments to claimants for the same benefit week, which resulted in $33,536 in potentially improper payments.

The Louisiana Legislative Auditor is giving some highlights about the report including why it was done.

You can find the audit highlights here.

The full report from the Louisiana Legislative Auditor can be accessed here.

In response to the audit, LWS released this statement.

“Overpayments are a normal occurrence, even under typical UI operating circumstances. When coupled with the rapid implementation of multiple new programs without the benefit of the usual extensive test controls in place to ensure accuracy and efficiency, the reality is that mistakes are inevitable. However, once an overpayment is established, LWC works hard to recoup those funds through various methods in order to ensure that all available funds are disbursed to those entitled to them.

As stated in the audit report, LWC has paid nearly $10 billion since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. We take our responsibility to provide relief to the individuals entitled to the benefit programs we are tasked with administering very seriously. While we strive to ensure that we do so effectively and within the confines of the law, we acknowledge that mistakes are made and we will work earnestly to rectify the $2.9 million in payments that potentially violated the employment benefit program rules.”

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