Hello Valley Patriot Readers,
Recently in the State Senate, I called for greater transparency around Massachusetts’ unemployment insurance (UI) trust fund.
The state UI trust fund collects assessments from businesses and uses those funds to provide benefits to workers who lose their jobs through no fault of their own. The fund nearly ran out of money during the COVID-19 pandemic as unemployment soared.
For months, the Administration failed to complete a financial accounting of the UI trust fund, with a monthly financial report on the fund not produced issued since June, when the account had a $1.77 billion balance in the red. The Administration has promised to produce a monthly report that’s been missing since June. However, we need more than just a financial report to ensure there is increased accountability within the system.
We know that some of the UI trust fund deficit is due to fraud and overpayments. Based on research conducted by the National Conference of State Legislatures and the U.S. Department of Labor, there could be as much as $1.6 billion in UI overpayments and fraud in Massachusetts.
I’ve been asked many times by workers and local mom and pop shops about what we can do to help them in the economic recovery. This is one big way we can help save our local families from having to pay costs associated with the failure of state government – by uncovering where exactly waste and abuse has occurred in this fund. Working families should not be on the hook for unemployment overpayments and fraud that occurred under this Administration’s watch.
We need to know the procedures within the state Department of Unemployment Assistance (DUA) that have potentially resulted in these fraudulent claims and overpayments. And we must ensure that if a process failed us during the shutdown, it does not continue to fail us moving forward.
Those who have done right by this system can’t afford to wait for accountability. Families who need unemployment benefits and have done right by the system are being negatively impacted by others who may be filing fraudulent claims. I will continue to demand answers to how tax dollars are spent and be a voice for working families across our communities.
If you have any questions on this or any other issue, please feel free to contact me anytime via email at Diana.Dizoglio@masenate.gov or phone at 978-984-7747.
Yours in service,