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4 Reasons Why Federal Government Shouldn’t Permanently Expand Jobless Benefits

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Historically, about 40% of unemployed workers have received unemployment insurance benefits. But since Congress passed massive unemployment insurance expansions in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, that figure has more than quadrupled, to unemployment benefits equaling 176% of the number of unemployed workers.

Between April 2020 and May of this year, state and federal unemployment insurance programs sent out 1.365 billion cumulative weeks of unemployment benefits. That’s 557 million more benefit checks than would have been necessary to cover 100% of unemployed workers.

And with the excess benefits equaling 41% of total benefits, that equates to an estimated $357 billion that taxpayers will have to pay for benefits that went to non-unemployed workers.

How could that even happen?

In short, adding super-sized weekly unemployment bonuses, allowing workers who did not pay into the unemployment insurance system to claim benefits, and massively easing verification requirements caused a historic surge in benefits, including sophisticated criminal enterprises stealing Americans’ identities and taxpayers’ money.

And now, some federal lawmakers want to permanently embed such problematic expansions—and others—into federal law.

>>>Read more: Excessive Pandemic Unemployment Benefits Are a Warning Against Unemployment Program Expansions

Here are four reasons why policymakers should promptly end all existing unemployment insurance pandemic benefits and not consider making any of the pandemic unemployment insurance expansions permanent:

The Department of Labor’s Office of Inspector General has opened and is reviewing more than 100,000 complaints of unemployment insurance fraud, and unemployment insurance investigations now account for 87% of the Labor Department’s inspector general’s........

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