A report by the Louisiana Legislative Auditor has found that the Louisiana Workforce Commission paid more than one million in unemployment benefits to deceased residents.
According to the audit, of the $8.57 billion in state and federal unemployment insurance benefit payments made by LWC, approximately $1.08 million was paid to 374 deceased individuals.
The audit covered the period of March 2020 to April 2021. To see the full report scroll down.
Auditors found that that 1,504 payments to 76 individuals totaling $337,007 could have been prevented under LWC's current death data match process.
Another $123,194 could have been prevented if LWC conducted weekly matches with the Louisiana Department of Health's death data instead of monthly matches, the report said.
Almost 3,000 payments totaling $639,091 to 334 individuals were not preventable, according to the legislative auditor, because benefits were paid before LDH received a report or death certificate.
LWC can attempt to recover all of the payments made to the deceased individuals.
According to state law, the Louisiana Department of Health (LDH) is required to send LWC a list of individuals who died in Louisiana during the preceding calendar month by the tenth day of each month. LWC policy states that, upon receipt of a death report or death certificate from LDH, LWC stops all claim activities for the deceased individual, including benefit payments.
The Legislative auditor's office is recommending that LWC work with LDH to obtain death files on a weekly basis, rather than monthly, to perform data matches on individuals receiving unemployment benefits.
Workforce Commission Secretary Ava Cates, in response to the audit, said that, while her office will pursue more frequent cross matches with LDH for death records, it will not prevent all improper payments in the future.
"It is virtually impossible to be immediately informed that an individual is deceased. In some cases, the SSA or LDH do not have the information available for a period of time after an individual is deceased," said Cates.
See the full audit report below:
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