- Associated Press - Saturday, April 14, 2018

AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) - A state audit says Maine must strengthen oversight to ensure it’s only paying unemployment claims to active job-seekers.

Auditor Pola Buckley says the lack of internal controls leaves a significant risk that the state could lead to an employment tax rate increase to replenish Maine’s unemployment fund. The state’s bureau of unemployment compensation also found evidence of overpayments in 17 of 60 cases.

The fund paid out about $102 million in benefits in the fiscal year ending last summer. That includes $96 million of employer-funded benefit payments and $6 million in federally funded benefit payments.

The Department of Labor said it disagreed with the finding and said its procedures comply with federal and state law. Buckley agreed with the department that newly rolled-out unemployment software could reduce future overpayments.

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