Mark Harmsworth of the Washington Policy Center states that ESD officials need to provide the public with more transparency into its internal policies
Washington Policy Center
The Employment Security Department (ESD) has been riddled with problems, including a Nigerian fraud scam that lost state taxpayers 100’s of millions of dollars and State auditor’s assessment of the systemic lack of fraud controls at the troubled agency.
Now taxpayers will be footing the bill for ESD’s overpayment mistakes.
An ESD bureaucratic failure to communicate clearly, has left thousands of residents receiving incorrect unemployment benefit amounts and, in some cases, overpayment of benefits. ESD has stated that due to the federal government Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) benefit ending, claimants were required to refile for unemployment and ESD issued notices instructing claimants on what needed to be done. The notifications for this change was poorly communicated and many claimants didn’t receive notifications and have been asked to repay the overpayments.
ESD had been trying to get the money back for the last two years and now, according to the Seattle Times, ESD is giving up on getting the money back which will require the rest of Washington taxpayers foot the bill for ESDs mistakes. Approximately 115,000 Washington residents owe $1 billion in over payments.
The federal government updated guidance in 2022 and now allows States to waive the overpayment (close to $12 million last week alone).
ESD incompetence has placed many Washington residents that claimed benefits in a difficult situation. Many