Getting that money back can often prove fruitless. The Idaho Department of Labor has managed to recover some $24.8 million since 2007, but more than $20 million is still being pursued.
Idaho’s unemployment trust fund was already under pressure as the 2008 recession pushed the jobless rate north of 9 percent, forcing the state to borrow from the federal government, then sell bonds to repay the debt. The rate at which employers pay into the fund is now at its maximum.
The Labor Department sought more leverage to limit overpayments in the 2012 Legislature by penalizing employers who don’t report new hires to the agency, a move that could have saved $5 million annually. The Senate unanimously passed the bill, before leaders in the House rejected it, over worries of the onus it put on employers.
For fiscal year 2012, the agency discovered $14.2 million in overpayments, slightly down from the $16.3 million high in 2011, near the apex of some 32.000 Idaho unemployment claims.
For the current year, $13 million is forecast – well above the five-year average of $9.8 million. (AP)