TN unemployment system receives harsh audit report - WSMV Channel 4

TN unemployment system receives harsh audit report

Posted: Updated:
NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) -

A state of Tennessee audit says the unemployment office is failing in every aspect of its duty, including tens of millions of dollars in taxpayer money given away to people who don't qualify.

The state auditor says the Tennessee unemployment office issued $181 million in inappropriate benefits over the past six years.

But unemployment officials say that number is wrong and that it's only $86 million.

Still, when you are a mother of two, laid off and just looking for the benefit for which you actually qualify, that $86 million is frustrating.

"It is just completely sad that people who deserve it - not just me - you have to assume there are thousands of people out there who deserve benefits, who have worked and can't find a job. They are losing their homes, losing their cars, can't feed their kids. It just hurts," said job seeker Marsha Rozell.

Unemployment benefits are being sent to dead people, people in prison and people who have paying jobs.

The state auditor says Tennessee's unemployment insurance program has not paid benefits to eligible claimants in a timely manner and is continuing to not only penalize state employers by unnecessarily increasing premiums but also jeopardize federal funding because of non-compliance.

It all amounts to an erosion of public trust, the auditor's report says.

The Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development declined an on-camera interview but did agree to answer all questions in writing.

It says its 42-year-old mainframe computer, which is antiquated and an error-making machine, is in the process of being replaced.

The department also says it has new fraud detection software.

And unemployment officials disagree with the auditors' numbers, saying they took questionable samples and overstated mistakes.

This makes two years in a row for very critical audits of state unemployment.

Copyright 2014 WSMV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

Powered by WorldNow
WSMV
Powered by WorldNow CNN
All content © 2014, WSMV; Nashville, TN. (A Meredith Corporation Station) and WorldNow. All Rights Reserved.
For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.