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Charlotte Amalie
Wednesday, August 10, 2022
HomeNewsArchivesUNEMPLOYMENT INSURANCE DIVISION IN TROUBLE

UNEMPLOYMENT INSURANCE DIVISION IN TROUBLE

A federal audit of the Unemployment Insurance Program has found $18.7 million in uncollected unemployment taxes and $408,200 in undocumented expenditures.
Carmelo Rivera, former commissioner of the V.I. Labor Department, said he already knew about the problem, according to the Daily News.
The audit, conducted by the U.S. Inspector General's s Office, states that on July 8, 1997, the day the study began, the records for 1,031 claimants were deleted from the computer's master file.
The report points out several shortcomings in the division, including an unsecured computer system, overpayment of benefits and failure to check the eligibility of recipients.
There were conflicting explanations of how the deletion occurred. Though the original paperwork for most of the computer records was found, files for 183 claimants were not found, leaving no supporting documents for about $400,400 in payments.
Rivera, who left his post as commissioner after Gov. Charles W. Turnbull took office, said an information director and assistant director have been hired to monitor the computer operations and a new computer system has been installed, thanks to a U.S. Labor Department grant.
But, he said, there are problems other than the computer system.
There are only two people in the department who handle the mainframe computer, which, he said, is bad from a security point of view. He recommended hiring more staff.
Unemployment taxes collected in 1996 totaled $8.8 million, while benefits paid totaled $11.5 million. For 1997 collections came to $7.7 million and payments amounted to $6.7 million, according to the audit.
The federal audit made 12 recommendations for improvements, mostly involving enforcing existing procedures.
Among them, it said the unemployment program should issue quarterly statements to employers who fall behind in payments, follow up with telephone calls to the delinquent employers and verify claimants' Social Security numbers.

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A federal audit of the Unemployment Insurance Program has found $18.7 million in uncollected unemployment taxes and $408,200 in undocumented expenditures.
Carmelo Rivera, former commissioner of the V.I. Labor Department, said he already knew about the problem, according to the Daily News.
The audit, conducted by the U.S. Inspector General's s Office, states that on July 8, 1997, the day the study began, the records for 1,031 claimants were deleted from the computer's master file.
The report points out several shortcomings in the division, including an unsecured computer system, overpayment of benefits and failure to check the eligibility of recipients.
There were conflicting explanations of how the deletion occurred. Though the original paperwork for most of the computer records was found, files for 183 claimants were not found, leaving no supporting documents for about $400,400 in payments.
Rivera, who left his post as commissioner after Gov. Charles W. Turnbull took office, said an information director and assistant director have been hired to monitor the computer operations and a new computer system has been installed, thanks to a U.S. Labor Department grant.
But, he said, there are problems other than the computer system.
There are only two people in the department who handle the mainframe computer, which, he said, is bad from a security point of view. He recommended hiring more staff.
Unemployment taxes collected in 1996 totaled $8.8 million, while benefits paid totaled $11.5 million. For 1997 collections came to $7.7 million and payments amounted to $6.7 million, according to the audit.
The federal audit made 12 recommendations for improvements, mostly involving enforcing existing procedures.
Among them, it said the unemployment program should issue quarterly statements to employers who fall behind in payments, follow up with telephone calls to the delinquent employers and verify claimants' Social Security numbers.