Today Governor Susana Martinez announced that the New Mexico Department of Workforce Solutions (NMDWS) has reduced fraud in Unemployment Insurance (UI) by as much as $10 million, or 60%, and that New Mexico's UI program is ranked number one in the United States by the U.S. Department of Labor (USDOL) for quality of claims determinations. Under Governor Martinez's Administration, New Mexico has also significantly dropped from ranking 4th highest in the nation for improper payments in 2011, down to 26th highest in 2013. Improper payments are currently less than 8% for 2013. New Mexico ranks first in the nation for the quality of non-monetary determinations for the quarter ending September 2013.
"When I took office, more taxpayer dollars were being wasted on improper payments and fraud in unemployment insurance than in nearly any other state in the country," said Governor Martinez. "We've been diligent in fighting this problem, saving taxpayer dollars, and preserving our Unemployment Insurance system for those who are truly out of work due to no fault of their own. It is critical that we continue our successful efforts to maintain accountability in Unemployment Insurance."
According to recent USDOL data, Governor Martinez's Administration reduced New Mexico's fraud rate 60%, from 5.22% in 2012 to 2.11% in 2013. This is a $10 million decrease in the amount of fraudulent payments from the state Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund, which is financed by taxes paid by approximately 45,000 employers.
NMDWS Cabinet Secretary Celina Bussey said the accomplishments are a result of the department's dedication to ensuring that the Unemployment Insurance program runs effectively and efficiently. "As we mark the one-year anniversary of the launch of our integrated UI tax and claims system, the first and fastest integrated system to be launched in the country, our department takes great pride in improving the accuracy and delivery of this important service. We continue to follow through with targeted strategies and initiatives that increase program integrity," said Secretary Bussey.
One year ago today, New Mexico launched a fully-integrated Unemployment Insurance Tax and Claims system, the first and only state in the nation to integrate and launch both the tax and claims systems simultaneously. It is designed to meet the high standards and needs of both businesses and job seekers. It includes enhancements to prevent, detect, and recover improper UI payments. Continuing Administration efforts include the Treasury Offset Program (TOPS), a partnership with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to intercept, or offset, federal tax refunds and federal payments for state tax obligations, including the recovery of overpaid UI benefits. Any amounts recovered are returned to the New Mexico Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund. Additionally, the Martinez Administration continues to engage the Department of Workforce Solutions with the business community while promoting employment-related services and resources available to workers and job seekers across the state.
For additional information about New Mexico's Unemployment Insurance program and the Department of Workforce Solutions, visit www.dws.state.nm.us.