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Puerto Rico gets $2.4M to prevent fraud in unemployment programs

The US Department of Labor recently awarded the Puerto Rico Labor Department a little more than $2.4 million to help the agency detect and combat fraud in its unemployment insurance programs.

The funds are part of a global $195.7 million allocation awarded to states and territories, and the District of Columbia, the federal agency said

Puerto Rico received a little more than $1 million for its Pandemic Unemployment Assistance and $194,400 for its Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation programs.

The local agency also got an additional $1.2 million for Unemployment Compensation Fraud Prevention.

“Amid the pandemic, temporary federal unemployment insurance programs sustained millions of Americans forced into unemployment through no fault of their own,” said US Secretary of Labor Marty Walsh.

“International and domestic crime rings were among those who attacked states’ antiquated claims systems to commit massive identity fraud at rates never seen before,” Walsh said.

“These grants will enable states to procure, implement and maintain identity verification and fraud detection solutions to ensure the safety and integrity of states’ unemployment insurance systems, paving the way for better access for people with legitimate claims,” he added.

On Aug. 11, 2021, the department’s Employment and Training Administration issued guidance to inform states of $100 million available in grants to address fraud in the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance and Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation programs.

At the same time, the department announced another $140 million in grants from the American Rescue Plan Act available to states to strengthen identity verification, enhance fraud detection, increase cybersecurity and expand overpayment recovery efforts for all unemployment insurance programs.

On Sept. 24 and Sept. 27, the department made an initial award of $77.8 million in grant funding, including $64.4 million to 44 states, territories, and the district for PUA fraud prevention, and $12.4 million to 40 states, territories, and the district for PEUC fraud prevention. On Sept. 28, the department announced nearly $118 million in ARPA funding to 45 states, territories and the district for all unemployment insurance programs.

The department issued guidance on Sept. 17, 2021, extending the deadline for states to apply for the funds available under these unemployment fraud detection, prevention, and overpayment recovery grants.

States have until Oct. 31, 2021 to apply

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This story was written by our staff based on a press release.

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