The U.S. Office of Inspector General estimates that $39 billion in unemployment benefits have been wasted.
Under the CARES Act in March, Americans received a weekly unemployment benefit of $600. But an oversight report showed that states are having trouble distributing these benefits and many probably received payments illegally.
The report said 42 states failed to report overpayments, and 40 percent of the states did not conduct the necessary checks to identify improper payments. The watchdog said problems with the program were probably caused by inadequate staffing and outdated technology that prevented detection of fraudulent payments.
Earlier, the U.S. Internal Revenue Service mistakenly sent checks for nearly $1,500 to thousands of Japanese retirees, the Financial Times reported. As a result, there were crowds of customers trying to withdraw money from banks in Tokyo.
The checks were sent as part of aid to the U.S. economy and Americans at a cost of nearly two billion dollars. By mistake, however, the lists included Japanese people who had previously worked in the United States and were now entitled to a small pension from that country. The U.S. Internal Revenue Service said the Japanese should send the checks back.