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ALBUQUERQUE — The New Mexico Department of Workforce Solutions has cut the state’s improper Unemployment Insurance payment rate by more than half — the highest drop in the country. Between fiscal years 2011 and 2012, New Mexico’s improper payment rate fell from nearly 24 percent to under 11 percent. NMDWS also cut the UI fraud rate as well, from around 6 percent in FY2011 to around 5 percent in FY2012.
“I am so proud that our Department of Workforce Solutions is a national leader in reducing fraud and improper payments in state unemployment insurance programs,” said Gov. Susana Martinez. “The progress NMDWS has made since the beginning of our administration is a testament to our commitment to cracking down on fraud and strengthening New Mexico’s UI program for businesses and workers.”
Cabinet Secretary Celina Bussey said the decreases in the improper payment and fraud rates are just the beginning of a new trend that will see these rates decline even lower. “We have many more initiatives planned for 2013 that will further strengthen the integrity of New Mexico’s Unemployment Insurance program and ensure that critical UI payments go to those who truly qualify for them.”
On Jan. 6, 2013, New Mexico will become the first state in the nation to launch a fully integrated Unemployment Insurance Tax and Claims system. The new system is designed to meet the high standards and needs of both businesses and job seekers, and will include enhancements to prevent, detect, and recover improper UI payments. This includes automated, technology-based tools such as the State Information Data Exchange System, an information-sharing platform between NMDWS and employers that will expedite correspondence about employment separation that is necessary for timely and correct UI payments.
Other system enhancements include the Treasury Offset Program and the National Directory of New Hires. TOPS is a partnership with the Internal Revenue Service to intercept, or offset, federal tax refunds and federal payments for state tax obligations, including the recovery of UI benefits that were overpaid to individuals. Any amounts intercepted and recouped will be deposited directly back into the New Mexico Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund.
The NDNH will enable New Mexico’s new UI system to automate cross-matches between state and national databases. This will help increase the detection of potential fraud by claimants who continue to certify and receive benefits after they have returned to work. A federal grant will also help the state increase integration between other UI systems and NMDWS’s Employment Services systems and processes, which will enable enhanced monitoring and enforcement of claimant registration and participation in reemployment services.
For more information about New Mexico’s Unemployment Insurance program and the Department of Workforce Solutions, visit dws.state.nm.us.