Improper unemployment benefit payments cost Oklahoma taxpayers $67 million in the last three years, but that was still 10th best in the nation, according to a just-released study by the U.S. Department of Labor.
Benefit payment errors delivered a $1.72 billion beating to Indiana taxpayers during the period, the highest cost in the country.
The study was based on a preliminary 3-year average gleaned for the period of July 1, 2008 through June 30, 2011.
The U.S. Labor Department said it has concentrated its efforts on the 10 states with the highest percentage error rates.
However, a breakdown of the data (see below) shows that the states where taxpayers were hit hardest weren’t necessarily the ones with the highest error percentages.
The 10 worst states ranked — first, by their cost to taxpayers and then, by their benefit payment error rates – were:
Indiana: $1.72 billion (43% error rate)
California: $1.66 billion (6.51%)
Texas: $1.06 billion (12.6%)
Pennsylvania: $1.1 billion (10.5%)
Illinois: $1.20 billion (12.8%)
New Jersey: $1 billion (12.9%)
New York: $962.6 million (8.2%)
Ohio: $886 million (16.3%)
Washington: $775 million (14.1%)
Michigan: $640 million (8.9 %)
These 10 lowest states (and District of Columbia) — those where errors cost the least (along with their percentage error rates) — were:
South Dakota: $18 million (12.2%)
Vermont: $18.3 million (4.5%)
North Dakota: $18.8 million (8.7%)
Montana: $26.8 million (9.1%)
New Hampshire: $25.7 million (5.6%)
Wyoming: $38 million (12%)
Hawaii: $42.5 million (5.5%)
District of Columbia: $43.6 million or (9.2%)
Rhode Island: $53.2 million (6%)
Oklahoma: $67 million (5.6% error rate)
To view a state-by-state breakdown of unemployment benefit payments and the cost to taxpayers, visit their website.
The U.S. Labor department said improper unemployment Insurance benefit payments are most likely to occur when:
· Recipients continue to claim benefits after returning to work;
· Employers or their third party administrators do not submit timely or accurate separation information; and
· Claimants fail to register with the state’s Employment Service (ES) as dictated by state law.