The federal government and states overpaid an estimated $14 billion in benefits in fiscal 2011, or roughly 11% of all the jobless benefits paid out, according to reports from the U.S. Labor Department.
Of the states, Indiana was the worst offender, making more improper payments than it did correct ones. …
But of the overpaid funds, most end up in the hands of three types of people: Those who aren’t actively searching for a job, those who were fired or quit voluntarily, and those who continue to file claims even though they’ve returned to work. Any of those circumstances would make a person ineligible for benefits.
In much rarer situations, people deliberately defraud the system, using fake documents or identities. Common scams involve prison inmates, illegal immigrants or even the deceased.