The state of Georgia is trying to collect millions of dollars of unemployment benefits. A federal audit shows Georgia’s labor department made overpayments due to outdated systems.
From 2008 to 2011, the state overpaid by $58.7 million in unemployment checks, according to the audit.
“To be quite frank, in a lot of instances, we saw people getting unemployment benefits that did not qualify,” said Mark Butler, Georgia’s Labor Commissioner.
The audit found Georgia’s systems were inadequate in detecting or recovering overpayment. Butler says he recognized the problems when he took office in 2011.
“There were a lot of overpayments and a lot of it had to do with the fact that basically, there was very little technology in place to assist our employees in going after this,” he said. “It was basically a very manual, very paper-oriented process, not very efficient.”
The department has put into place new electronic systems and has also hired a private company to detect overpayments, Butler said.
The state has since recovered about $14.9 million dollars, which is about 25 percent of the overpayment. To help get payments back, the labor department has joined the Treasury Offset Program, which allows the state to recover the money through federal income tax refunds.