This article originally appeared on Fox Business on September 10, 2020.
With the Congressional Budget Office recently reporting that our nation’s annual budget deficit for fiscal 2020 will hit $3.3 trillion, the largest deficit since World War II, this is a good time to re-examine some of the programs that got us here.
One obvious candidate is the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program (PUA) which the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) called out in May for being “highly vulnerable to improper payments and fraud.” The program’s future is one of the sticking points between the administration and the Democrats in their current effort to negotiate a second stimulus deal.
As part of the CARES Act, the PUA is a bipartisan effort to ensure that Americans who lose their jobs for COVID-19 related reasons can survive economically.
It is an unprecedented program that provides weekly unemployment checks to people normally ineligible for traditional state unemployment insurance benefits (UI) such as the self-employed, independent contractors, people with limited work histories or seeking part-time work and those who have exhausted other sources for unemployment benefits.
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