An audit shows the Department of Workforce Development blocked almost 1.7 million calls from people trying to claim unemployment benefits in the year that ended June 30.
The Legislative Audit Bureau report shows the vast majority of blocked calls were made between December 2013 and January 2014, when the phone system was overloaded. Senator Rob Cowles of Green Bay says it was a long-running problem.
“One year period 60 percent of the calls were blocked and another year it was almost 80 percent of the calls were blocked. Now, since February 2014, and up until this past June 14th, it’s down to 10 percent.”
The co-chair of the Joint Legislative Audit Committee says changes to the agency’s computer system helped.
The audit also found the DWD overpaid nearly $168 million in unemployment benefits during the three year period that ended in June.
“I’m very interested in tracking that overpayment and getting that money back. it’s not easy to get it back. So, it’s something that we have to continue to monitor.”
About 85 percent of the overpayments were the result of accidental errors. About 9.5 percent were likely fraud.