ID.me, a private computer security firm has claimed that more than $200 billion may have been pocketed via fraud under the name of Federal Assistance for Unemployed Americans. This firm verifies the identities of the workers across 19 states of America, making up roughly 75% of the total population.
The official government statement regarding the trickled fraudster amount was $63 billion on the basis of a 10% pre-pandemic fraud rate. This new figure is more than a triple of what the government sources have quoted.
The firm claimed that the $200 billion figure could make the unemployment assistance fraud to be the “fourth largest” spending program during the ongoing pandemic.
The private firm has claimed that the states attracted by the fraudsters have the highest per week unemployment benefits include: California, Massachusetts, and Washington.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, the lawmakers had committed to funding as much as $496 billion in unemployment benefits. The recently passed $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan also funds approximately $209 billion to the unemployment provisions.
Under the pandemic, unemployment assistance program, a further $94.3 billion are committed to be transferred to the eligible Americans.
The announcement from the private firm comes after 770,000 Americans have claimed the jobless pandemic benefits in the week that concluded on March 13. The number of people who applied has been higher than forecast. Economists had predicted that almost 700,000 Americans will apply for the jobless benefit.
The weekly jobless claims have been four times higher than the initial prediction.
Currently, the number of Americans receiving unemployment aid per week is approximately 4.124 million. More Americans are planning to apply as there are 9.5 million fewer jobs available in the market compared to last February when the pandemic began.
A significant portion of the unemployment benefits being stolen by fraudsters is a grave concern for the Biden Administration. Measures need to be taken on an urgent basis as this dent in the funds may result in the prevalence of unemployment for a longer period of time, thus it would have a drastic impact on the already fragile economy.