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SC Unemployment: $86 Million In Overpayments

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Nearly one in every five dollars of unemployment benefits doled out in South Carolina over the last year was awarded in error – one of the highest percentages in the nation.

Between July 2010 and June 2011, a whopping $86.5 million worth of unemployment benefits in the Palmetto state were paid in error. That’s 17.8 percent of the state’s total unemployment benefit tab for the year – the eighth highest percentage in the nation. Over the last three years, South Carolina has overpaid $356 million in benefits – a 17.7 percent overpayment rate that ranks as the fourth-highest percentage in the nation.

By comparison, only 5.1 percent of Georgia’s unemployment benefits were erroneously applied last year.

Nationally, a total of $19 billion worth of unemployment benefits – or 10.4 percent of the total tab of $180 billion – were appropriated in error over the last three years.

The figures – released on Wednesday by the U.S. Department of Labor – raise additional questions regarding the efficacy of incentivizing joblessness. Nonetheless, U.S. President Barack Obama is seeking to extend long-term unemployment benefits as part of his latest “stimulus” package.

Speaking of people who know how to incentivize joblessness, S.C. Gov. Nikki Haley and “Republican” leaders in the S.C. General Assembly patted themselves on the back recently for including $146 million in so-called “unemployment insurance tax relief” into the state’s record-setting $22.1 billion budget. All this appropriation really did, however, was put taxpayers on the hook for a significant portion of the largest tax increase in South Carolina history.

Also, businesses in this state remain on the hook for nearly $800 million in new unemployment insurance taxes – a number that’s likely to increase as our state’s unemployment rate continues to climb.

Of course while our state’s businesses and individual taxpayers are being forced to pay this massive tab back to the federal government, South Carolina’s government bureaucracies have made out like bandits – receiving more than $4.25 billion in federal “stimulus” funds.

The result of all that spending? In addition to higher unemployment, the state is suffering from diminished competitiveness and a reversion to recessionary economic conditions.

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