The U.S. Department of Labor reported that an estimated $14 billion were overspent in unemployment benefits in fiscal 2011.
The federal government and states like Indiana, one of the worst offenders, are now trying to recoup the lost money and prevent future overpayment.
According to the Census Bureau, the distributed benefits did help 3.2 million Americans in need in 2010. However, there are three types of people who have received overpaid funds: people actively searching for jobs, those who were fired or quit their job, and those who have returned to work but are continuing to claim unemployment.
Overpayment is typically an administrative error made by the government, the employer, or the employee. It can also be a combination of all parties.
Scams also contributed to overpayment with claims involving prison inmates, illegal immigrants, and deceased citizens. During fiscal 2011, there were 2,700 convictions of fraud related to unemployment insurance. Punishment typically consists of probation, community service, or an added penalty to the payback amount.
Ryan Greminger, 39, of Richmond, Indiana admits that he collected unemployment benefits while serving a two-year prison sentence for a drug-related crime. Prior to his conviction, he was laid off from a factory in 2007. He was encouraged to keep filing claims from a fellow inmate.
"It's not like some big scheme I thought of," Greminger said. "I paid this guy $50 each time to have his girlfriend — a woman I had never met — file my unemployment claims."
Greminger explained that he needed the money to provide for his fiancé and their four kids. He is now out of jail and working to repay over $14,000 to the state.
"I accept responsibility for what I did. It was wrong. It was a mistake," he said. "I'm paying for it now."
Vice President Joe Biden is now leading the charge against wasted federal spending through the Campaign to Cut Waste initiative.
The Labor Department predicts that only half of the overpayments can be recovered. Gay Gilbert, an administrator in the Labor Department’s Office of Unemployment Insurances said that only a fourth of the “recoverable” funds have actually been retrieved.
“We believe our improper payment rate has very slightly started to tick down," Gilbert said.
When the federal government discovered overpayment, a letter is sent to the worker instructing them to return the funds. In some states, workers are allowed to prove if they are in financial distress to waive the payments. Otherwise, claimants can be taken to court if they do not pay back what they owe.
Repayments can be processed by being withdrawn from garnishing wags, being deducted from federal income taxes or payment plans.
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This Week’s Celebrity Instagrams (6/18-6/24)
25 photos Launch gallery
1. Me & the homie @jaleelwhite #RujohnFoundation Happy to be in Jamaica! Good times
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5. Good Morning. Early day in Detroit! Making press rounds for @thebossnetwork's Ladies That Lead Tour. Thank you @traycemadre and @colourbynumbr for my glam.
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6. POWER the best show on TV @djenvy, Queens we so big out here. #EFFENVODKA #FRIGO
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7. They said u lost a step, wasn't explosive as once was, the best days was in the real view, questioned your drive, your leadership, your commitment, you don't have killer instinct, going back home is the worst mistake in your career, he got the coach fired, players traded, won't work between him and Kyrie, Him and Kev won't work, love your teammates to much, there's no way he can deliver a championship in his hometown, etc etc etc.... But guess what THATS NONE OF MY BUSINESS #StriveForGreatness #ThisOneIsForTheLand #PutSomeRespeckOnMyName Hahahaha!!! Yes sir
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8. Oooooh weeee this man right here is responsible for at least three of our four babies!! #JOE ❤❤❤🎤 #rnb #king #voicelikebutter #ForPeetesSake
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9. Hanging with my @abcnetwork family! @abcunclebuck tonite y'all check us out ! @anthonyanderson @traceeellisross
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10. My broski ( @sayeedshahidi ) and I are on Top 5 Live on @go90 at 5 (which is super duper close)! Make sure to tune in :) #UncleBuck #Blackish
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11. Lights out💤 #GoodNight
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12. Late nights mornings
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13. Ran into the lovely talented @siedahgarrett on this brutiful favvuz deh!
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14. #halal #love #thedargans #kattwilliamsSHOW #mashallah when that Jennah piece HIT!! @sweetjennahcollection glasses by @baddieglamaccessories LIZ 😍 @dynamiteko top @dazzledmv and jeans @thevision414 and shoes: @louboutinworld
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15. Big Hair and Optical Illusions #OceanDrive #MiamiLiving #coverparty
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16. MAMA and THE SAVAGES ... ⚓️ #supportyourlocalgirlgang
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17. From the bottom of my ❤️, thank you new followers & old! & hello fellow night owls! #grateful #racheltrue #naturalhair #curlyhair #curlygirl #healthyhair
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18. I feel so grateful because I met these amazing young minds, visiting from Houston TX, during their college tour stop today at #usc.These students are ALL extraordinary and embody academic excellence so I'm humbled to have shared a few moments with them to applaud and celebrate their bright futures ahead! Thank you @EmergeFellows for inviting me to speak and blessing me with your love and attention this afternoon!
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19. Happy Fathers Day Pops. U taught me how to be a man. Lessons of love, hard work & gratefulness. Sorry the fishing didn't stick. LOL. I Love U!
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20. Sky Zone and Ice Cream! Best Fathers Day Ever!! Photo credit @mariahcarey
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21. Look what finally came in the mail 😎 #mtvmovieawards2016 💥+🌽! #straightouttacompton
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22. Claudia Jordan: ....
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23. 'Member that time I almost knocked a bajillion dollar camera off the car? Really? Yeah, me neither! #Greenleaf Episode 2 comin atcha!
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24. Full of love. #birthday #Cabo
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25. Oh hey! Look who just joined Snapchat
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