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Brady: $400 Billion in Stolen Unemployment Benefits Is Greatest Theft of American Tax Dollars in History

June 10, 2021

WASHINGTON, D.C. – An AXIOS report today reveals that the new figure on unemployment fraud is an estimated $400 billion stolen – almost half of all pandemic unemployment spending. Ways and Means Republican Leader Rep. Kevin Brady (R-TX) said:


“The greatest theft of American tax dollars in history has risen unabated to $400 billion, with nearly half of all pandemic unemployment spending lost to fraud by criminals.

“Democrats repealed simple, bipartisan reforms that would have ended this continued theft while rejecting modest amendments seeking to protect American taxpayers.

“We must pass the Combatting COVID Unemployment Fraud Act immediately—too much has been lost.”


$400 billion is more than…

  • The entire 2021 budgets of the Army and Navy combined
  • The entire economy of the state of Colorado
  • The combined economies of eight American states
  • Five times what the federal government collected in Unemployment Insurance taxes


Read the full report by AXIOS HERE.




Republicans have been sounding the alarm on the rampant fraud and abuse in COVID unemployment programs for months.


  • In May, Rep. Brady, alongside Republican leaders and Ways and Means Republicans, introduced the Combatting COVID Unemployment Fraud Act of 2021 to prevent fraud and provide relief to victims of identity theft.


READ: New Bill: Republicans Act Against Unchecked Unemployment Fraud


Unchecked unemployment fraud is delaying legitimate payments, diverting funds away from unemployed workers, and turning thousands of Americans into unwitting identity theft victims.


  • Top officials at the Labor Department estimate that at least $63 billion, and as much as $89 billion, in unemployment benefits have been improperly paid since March 2020, largely due to fraud. The true amount is unknown.
  • As far back as Summer 2020, multiple reports from the Department of Justice, the U.S. Secret Service and GAO have raised the alarm bells about widespread fraud resulting in billions being diverted.
  • Democrats extended COVID unemployment programs through Septe 6th 2021, with no additional protections against fraud — and without having held a single hearing to determine how to prevent further fraud from occurring.


READ: Unchecked Unemployment Insurance: Taxpayers Are on the Hook for $60 Billion (and Counting) in Fraud


While Democrats are sabotaging our jobs recovery, criminals are lining their pockets with billions in taxpayer funds.


  • Unchecked unemployment fraud is delaying legitimate payments, diverting funds away from unemployed workers, and turning thousands of Americans into unwitting identity theft victims.
  • Democrats unanimously voted against a proposal offered by Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA) that would require states to verify identity and receive documentation of prior wages of applicants for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) before authorizing benefits.
  • Requests for a joint hearing on fraud in pandemic-era programs have fallen on deaf ears for months, and letters to the Biden Administration have gone unanswered.
  • In early May, Rep. Brady and Senate Finance Committee Ranking Member Mike Crapo (R-ID) sent a letter urging the U.S. Department of Labor Secretary to implement targeted, timely investments to stop fraud now.
  • Also in May, Republican Leader for the Worker and Family Support Subcommittee Rep. Jackie Walorski (R-IN) hosted a panel with Ways and Means Republicans examining the over $60 billion and counting in fraud.


READ: Brady, Crapo to Labor Secretary Walsh: Stop Unemployment Fraud Now


READ: REPORT: Fraud overwhelms pandemic-related unemployment programs


READ: Wenstrup Leads Letter to Administration Asking for Relief for Taxpayers that Were Victims of Unemployment Fraud


READ: The Way Forward on Unemployment: Stop Criminals from Diverting Billions Away from Unemployed American Workers