A legislative auditor has found Louisiana paid out more than $405 million in unemployment benefits to residents who were ineligible.

WDSU in New Orleans is reporting that  Louisiana Workforce Commission, which administers unemployment benefits, says the errors happened because a major surge in claims from COVID-19 pandemic job losses, and a delay in employers reporting second-quarter wages.

The Louisiana Workforce Commission, according to the auditor, received 88,717 unemployment claims between March 21 and April 18. The LWC staff struggled to process the amount claims. The weekly average for 2019 was 1,996 unemployment claims.

The Commission told the auditor it makes its decisions on the information submitted by residents if they don't hear back from their former employers. The agency was not tracking what employers didn't provide information back to the Commission. Thus, many people were granted unemployment benefits who would've otherwise been denied.

More than half of the payments to ineligible residents, around $252 million, were made between April 1 and June 30.

The Commission is investigating all residents who received improper benefits to determine if they were gained fraudulently or by error.

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