image description

Maryland receives $2.4M to combat unemployment fraud

September 18th, 2020 by WCBC Radio

WBAL reports Maryland has been awarded $2.4 million in funding from the U.S. Department of Labor to help combat unemployment fraud.

“As our department works to provide unemployment benefits to all eligible claimants, bad actors are still trying to capitalize on the additional funding available during the COVID-19 pandemic intended to help those truly in need,” Labor Secretary Tiffany Robinson said in a statement. “Our top priority is to provide relief to legitimate claimants who need it the most, but the high level of fraud surrounding these federal programs does require us to carefully and manually review each claim.”

In July, Maryland officials uncovered $501 million in fraudulent claims. The state's initial investigation determined 95% of the claims deemed suspicious in the initial investigation were in fact fraudulent.

The initial investigation found that there were 48,280 total out-of-state claimants who had their Bank of America unemployment debit cards canceled and were prompted to verify their identity by uploading additional documentation to their portal, 43,664 claimants did not upload any documentation. Out of the 4,616 claimants who uploaded documentation, 2,502 of claims were approved and reinstated after conducting a thorough manual review. 2,114 of those claims were determined to be fraudulent and denied. With this, it was determined that 45,778 of claims were fraudulent.

As of the week ending Sept. 12, the state has paid over $6.8 billion in benefits from federal coronavirus relief programs and regular unemployment insurance programs. Approximately 96% of all complete claims have been processed and approximately 4% of claims are pending in adjudication, which is consistent with pre-pandemic levels. 

The initial investigation determined an additional 95,402 out-of-state claims have been identified as potentially fraudulent, with at least 87,013 claims either lacking documentation or being denied to date. It was also determined that an additional 57,577 in-state claims have been identified as potentially fraudulent, with at least 36,142 claims lacking documentation or being denied to date.