Neal Statement on Unemployment Insurance GAO Reports

Jun 7, 2022
Press Release

WASHINGTON, DC— Today, House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard E. Neal (D-MA) released the following statement in response to the Government Accountability Office’s latest reports on unemployment insurance in the pandemic:

“The evidence is clear: the Federal Pandemic Unemployment compensation created by the Ways and Means Committee supported Americans in a time of need, prevented a deep recession, and didn’t keep them from returning to work once it was safe and possible. This supplemental funding was the difference maker for so many families. It kept them in their houses, with food on their tables, and ultimately, laid the groundwork for our economy to make the comeback we’ve seen over the last year.

“State UI systems have been underfunded and undermaintained for far too long. Even without adequate resources, many pulled off the herculean effort of delivering new pandemic UI benefits in a matter of weeks, but insufficient staff and technology meant many workers still waited far too long and faced barriers to receive benefits. It’s unacceptable that applicants of color received benefits at lower rates, and there is no further data to understand these inequities or enforcement tools to hold states accountable.  

“Under the last administration’s watch, bad actors capitalized on these vulnerabilities and used troves of stolen identity data to fraudulently apply for benefits. Punishing those criminal rings and recovering dollars stolen from American workers and taxpayers is a top priority for the Committee, which is why we fought to include funding in the American Rescue Plan for the Department of Labor (DOL) to crack down on these criminals. Already, states, assisted by DOL, have separated out claims filed by organized criminals, allowing the Department of Justice, along with many states Attorneys General, to successfully prosecute some of these fraudsters and recover hundreds of millions of dollars. This work must continue. The Ways and Means Committee is pursuing legislative solutions to support the Biden Administration, and many states, on their path to justice for beneficiaries.”

The Ways and Means Committee allocated $2 billion in the American Rescue Plan for the Department of Labor to fight fraud and address longstanding challenges in unemployment insurance systems.