Rhode Island Auditor General Dennis Hoyle released a report estimating the state paid $550 million of fraudulent unemployment insurance benefits from July 1, 2020, through June 30, 2021. The figure was up over the previous fiscal year in which the state estimated $171 million of fraudulent unemployment benefits were paid from July 1, 2019, through June 30, 2020.
Unemployment insurance refers to a joint federal and state program that provides temporary monetary benefits to eligible laid-off workers who are actively seeking new employment. Qualifying individuals receive unemployment compensation as a percentage of their lost wages in the form of weekly cash benefits while they search for new employment.
The federal government oversees the general administration of state unemployment insurance programs. The states control the specific features of their unemployment insurance programs, such as eligibility requirements and length of benefits.