New York state worked with the federal government’s Treasury Offset Program to recover $51.2 million in unemployment benefits had been collected fraudulently, more money than any other state recouped, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced today. The benefits had been paid to more than 50,000 individuals.
The Treasury Offset Program intercepts federal tax refunds to collect delinquent debts, Cuomo said in a statement. The state Department of Labor refers debtors to TOP after repeated attempts to collect the money have failed, and individuals receive notice 60 days before their refunds are garnished.
The governor attributed New York’s success to the development of low-cost software that permits the state and federal systems to work in tandem.
“Once again, New York is at the forefront of efforts to protect taxpayer dollars through preventing and collecting fraudulently-obtained government payments. Every dollar we recover through this program becomes available to eligible unemployed New Yorkers who are most in need of this vital economic safety net,” he said. “We will continue to do everything we can to collect fraudulently-obtained benefits from people who don’t deserve them, and who are in fact stealing from their fellow New Yorkers.”
Nationwide, the Treasury program has recovered a total of $174.9 million for the 14 states that participate and the District of Columbia, according to David Lebryk, commissioner of the Treasury Department’s Financial Management Service.