NC Unemployment Agency a ‘Broken System’
In 2011, the state investigated 6,077 cases of unemployment fraud and referred 286 of them, or about 5 percent, to law enforcement. The WRAL Investigates team found that a long-term problem at the state’s unemployment agency has been contributing to the fraud cases.
North Carolina’s unemployed depend on the Division of Employment Security for benefits and help finding work. Since the downturn in the economy, the agency has faced numerous problems, including late benefit payments, $28 million in over payments and a $147 million mistake when the division used state funds instead of federal funds to pay claims.
A deeper look into the agency’s performance numbers showed a bigger issue that has gone on for more than 15 years with no fix.
The state has problems determining whether someone is initially eligible for benefits and in tracking when those getting benefits are no longer eligible. In the last quarter, North Carolina had the worst scores in the country on both those measures, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.
The labor department has performed 120 quality checks on North Carolina’s unemployment agency since 1997. Of those, the agency has passed twice.