A new audit from the State Legislative Auditor show the Louisiana Workforce Commission paid out more than $400 million dollars to people who were not eligible to get the payments.

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The Advocate reports nearly 100,000 people got money they were not entitled to receive.

The audit report says:

Our report analyzed wages reported to LWC by employers for the period of January 2020 through September 2020. In order to qualify for State and select Federal Unemployment Insurance benefits during the COVID-19 pandemic, individuals with wages reported to LWC by employers were required to have (1) been classified as an employee by their employer; (2) lost income or their job through no fault of their own; and (3) earned no more than $247 per week from any secondary
employer or source of income.

The audit states the Louisiana Workforce Commission made assistance payments totaling approximately $405.3 million to 97,585 individuals who do not appear to have been eligible for these programs.

In the report, LWC says efforts to verify eligibility was "hampered by the significant increase in the number of applications submitted during the COVID-19 pandemic and legislative action that gave employers additional time to submit their wage reports to LWC."

The audit was done because of a dramatic increase in the number of applicants for assistance and the total amount of claims which was close to $7 billion dollars from March 28, 2020, through December 31, 2020. The report says this was a 2000% increase from February of 2020.

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