Audit: LWC may have issued improper unemployment payments

The Louisiana legislative auditor has flagged the Louisiana Workforce Commission for issuing improper payments through its unemployment benefits program.

Auditors analyzed wages reported from January 2020 to September 2020 and found that the LWC potentially paid out more than $405 million in payments to 97,585 people who did not appear to have been eligible, based on their income, according to WAFB-TV

LWC pointed to two primary problems that contributed to the potentially improper payments: A backlog of documentation from former or current employers of applicants and the deadline extension the state gave employers filing employee wage reports for the second quarter of 2020.

The audit comes more than a year since the start of the pandemic, and after news reports detailing complaints that unemployment recipients had with the LWC as it handled Louisiana’s claims during historic levels of joblessness. Unemployment recipients said there were problems with long phone holds and difficulty getting questions answered.  

In its report, the legislative auditor’s office recommended that LWC continue investigating people who received unemployment benefits and recover the money as appropriate. See the report here.