U.S. Sens. John Thune (R-S.D.), and Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.), members of the Senate Finance Committee, today introduced legislation that would improve the integrity of the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program. The bill would also reduce the issuance of fraudulent claims by requiring beneficiaries of the program to provide documentation proving employment or planned employment to their state unemployment insurance (UI) office in order to receive PUA benefits.
“While it’s very important that we make sure those who are struggling with unemployment because of the COVID-19 pandemic have the assistance they need during these tough times, it’s just as important that PUA benefits are going to folks who are actually eligible,” said Thune. “By adding this layer of transparency to this program we created in the CARES Act, we can ensure it is actually serving the people Congress intended.”
“The COVID-19 pandemic caused unprecedented unemployment and while it’s important to help those struggling, we need to make sure that unemployment money is going to those who are eligible,” said Enzi. “This bill would close a loophole to help prevent fraud in the program and ensure taxpayer dollars are being spent as intended.”
The Pandemic Unemployment Assistance Integrity Act would require current and future PUA beneficiaries to provide documentation proving employment or planned employment to obtain or retain PUA benefits. The CARES Act established PUA to provide UI benefits to individuals not otherwise eligible, like the self-employed and independent contractors.