Audit: Bogus unemployment claims may have cost Kansas $600M

Unemployment benefits
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A legislative audit says Kansas may have paid $600 million worth of bogus claims for unemployment benefits last year.

The report released Wednesday by the GOP-controlled Legislature's nonpartisan auditing division gave a figure that's more than double the state Department of Labor's estimate. The report suggested that nearly one in four unemployment claims paid last year could have been fraudulent amid a surge in filings during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The department on Tuesday estimated last year’s fraudulent claims as worth $290 million. The department strongly disputed the audit’s figure and said so in a written response but Republican lawmakers saw the audit as likely to be more accurate.