Updated: Tuesday, 31 Aug 2010, 11:00 PM MDT
Published : Tuesday, 31 Aug 2010, 11:00 PM MDT
ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) - The U.S. Department of Labor estimates that the State of New Mexico may have paid out almost $100 million last year to people who didn't qualify.
But, the New Mexico Department of Workforce Solutions says those numbers don't accurately reflect what actually is going on.
"Those are potential overpayments that were identified," Department of Workforce Solutions spokesperson Carrie Moritomo said.
The U.S. Department of Labor came up with the exact $97.8 million estimate based on a formula using the actual amount of overpayments that were identified last year, which was $22.5 million.
The Department of Workforce Solutions argues the $22.5 million is the only number that count.
Those overpayments were mostly to people collecting more than they should, or collecting when they didn't actually qualify.
“Those would be true people who had determinations, appeals, changes or committed fraud," Moritomo said.
But the state’s $22 million figure assumed every overpayment was caught by auditors, while the U.S. Department of Labor’s estimate assume the state only catch a portion of the overpayments.
There are currently 60,000 New Mexicans collecting unemployment. Two years ago, that number was 12,000.