JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — The Missouri Department of Labor and Industrial Relations is unable to accurately reports millions in unemployment insurance program financial activities, according to a report released by State Auditor Nicole Galloway.
The annual report also found a continued failure by the state to properly account for federal dollars used for several state programs.
The Department of Labor does not have adequate controls and procedures over financial reporting of Unemployment Compensation Fund financial activities following the implementation of the computerized Unemployment Insurance system, UInteract, in November 2016, the reports states. Incorrect calculations and inconsistencies resulted in $2 million in potential inaccuracies.
The new system, which cost more than $40 million, was not fully developed or tested before implementation the audit alleges. As a result, the Department delayed generating financial reports and ultimately provided inaccurate information on required state and federal filings.
At least $134,000 in overpayments to claimants who had exceeded their maximum unemployment benefit the audit found. It was just the unemployment program functions that were affected by the system.
“Businesses throughout Missouri pay millions into the unemployment system, which is why it is so disconcerting to find that there are funds being managed without proper oversight or accountability,” Galloway said. “Even simple checks and balances have not been implemented, leaving the Department of Labor unable to accurately provide basic financial information.”
The annual audit also noted an increasing number of concerns throughout state agencies and identified hundreds of millions of dollars in questionable costs in social safety net programs, like Medicaid. The 2016 report had six findings, while this year’s report found 17 areas of concern.
The review identified a lack of accountability in two additional agencies that administer federal funds: The Department of Mental Health and the Department of Social Services. Multiple findings included in the report related to these two departments were repeat issues identified in prior year audits.
“The state spends billions in federal dollars each year that must be managed properly and spent appropriately on programs and services Missourians depend on,” Auditor Galloway. “Failing to properly account for that money can put those dollars, and the programs they support, at risk. ”
The Statewide Single Audit annually identifies weaknesses in the state’s financial reporting and reviews the management and spending of $12 billion in federal funds.
A complete copy of the audit report is available online.
Alisha Shurr was a reporter for The Missouri Times and The Missouri Times Magazine. She joined The Missouri Times in January 2018 after working as a copy editor for her hometown newspaper in Southern Oregon. Alisha is a graduate of Kansas State University.