WASHINGTON (Nexstar) — From Nevada to Virginia, Democrats and Republicans in Congress say the Department of Labor guidance about who qualifies for expanded unemployment benefits is unclear.
Nevada Democratic Congresswoman Dina Titus fears the confusion may leave states to foot the bill for the unemployment benefits that the federal government is supposed to pay for.
“They gave one set of directions of who was eligible, then they changed that and said, ‘No, you have to do more in-depth research.’ Then they’re saying, ‘No you need to take that money back.’ You can’t take money back from people,” Titus said.
Denver Riggleman, a Virginia Republican, said part time and gig economy workers are major areas of confusion.
“And exactly where they’re supposed to go with gig workers? How you’re supposed to pay them? What is the actual limits?” Riggleman said.
Titus and others in Congress are asking the Labor Department to ensure states will be reimbursed for 100% of the cost of the expanded unemployment benefits as the CARES Act outlines.
“Certainly our intentions were pretty clear,” Titus said, “but this administration tends to ignore Congress.”
She said potentially fraudulent claims should be investigated but state unemployment offices should not be penalized for unclear and changing guidance.
“There’s been a lawsuit in Nevada and the judge has told the state, ‘Go ahead and make these payments,'” she said. “So we’ll have to see how that works out.”
The Labor Department said it received the letter from lawmakers and “plans to issue a response shortly.”