Source: ABC News
States across America doled out $13.7 billion in “improper” unemployment payments last year alone, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. The figure is down from more than $17 billion the previous year. However, federal officials say the vast majority of American states are not yet participating in a program designed to collect from people who received unemployment wrongfully.
The program, called the Treasury Offset Program, allows state governments to hand over the names of people who were overpaid to the Internal Revenue Service. The I.R.S. then subsequently confiscates tax refunds of those individuals and returns the money to the appropriate state government.
New York, Wisconsin, and Michigan were the first three states to hop on board last year. By the end of 2011, they had collected more than $26 million. This year, Maryland, Mississippi, Pennsylvania, Illinois, and Alabama have hopped on board.
While federal officials estimate those returns would skyrocket if everyone took part, they say the rest of the country has yet to join in. The result, they say, is that large amounts of public money remains in the hands of those it doesn’t belong to.
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