(The Center Square) – The Kansas Department of Labor (KDOL) flags more than 2,300 fraudulent claims for unemployment benefits each day. As of Dec. 10, the KDOL has stopped more than 157,000 fraudulent claims, but some legitimate claims get flagged in the process.
"We are very vigilant," Jerry Grasso, communications director at KDOL, told The Center Square. "We have a 72-hour hold on new claims to investigate. This is keeping Kansans from being paid more quickly, but we do so because we must be good stewards of taxpayer dollars. This is our obligation."
Ryan Wright, KDOL secretary, said it is possible that some valid claims will end up flagged as fraudulent, but that percentage should be very small. Those in this situation should be able to contact the KDOL through its call centers and have the flag removed from their claim.
Some payments have stopped or been delayed for those legitimately seeking assistance. About 31,000 Kansans are waiting for payments, according to KWCH 12. Some who have reported delays in receiving funds told KWCH that they are unable to get through to the KDOL to verify their identity due to phone and online access channels are repeatedly busy.
"We have over 200 agents on phones, and have added more adjudicators, and others to handle the influx of claimants in 2020," Grasso said.
Overall, Grasso said the KDOL believes they have a good process in place.
"We work with other states and partners to utilize digital tools and practices to continually improve our investigations of fraudulent activities," Grasso said. "As all states, we are balancing this unprecedented rise in fraud with the impacts of COVID-19 in working to make sure Kansans with valid claims are paid what they are due."