published Thursday, March 28th, 2013

Fraud, errors led Tennessee to more than $73 million in unemployment overpayments

NASHVILLE — Tennessee made more than $73 million in unemployment overpayments due to fraud and errors over the past six years, according to state auditors.

The state Comptroller’s review of various agencies’ compliance with federal requirements also found that people legitimately entitled to benefits didn’t get them on a timely basis due to backlogs in the Department of Labor and Workforce Development.

Earlier this month, the department’s commissioner, Karla Davis, abruptly resigned with Gov. Bill Haslam’s office insisting it was due to “family” considerations and not pressure. Two of Davis’ top staffers also abruptly left as well.

The $1.2 billion unemployment insurance program is administered by Labor and Workforce Development officials. The Times Free Press reported in 2011 the U.S. Labor Department found Tennessee had one of the highest “improper payments” in the entire country.

State auditors said they found the department’s internal controls for the program were ineffective or non-existent, resulting in overpayments of claims due to fraud or error.

about Andy Sher...

Andy Sher is a Nashville-based staff writer covering Tennessee state government and politics for the Times Free Press. A Washington correspondent from 1999-2005 for the Times Free Press, Andy previously headed up state Capitol coverage for The Chattanooga Times, worked as a state Capitol reporter for The Nashville Banner and was a contributor to The Tennessee Journal, among other publications. Andy worked for 17 years at The Chattanooga Times covering police, health care, county government, ...

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