Ernst Decries Thousands of Federal Workers Who Fraudulently Received COVID Unemployment Checks


by Mark Tapscott at

Thousands of federal workers applied for and received COVID-19-related unemployment benefits and continued getting their regular paychecks during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to Sen. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), who’s calling for a federal investigation to identify the offenders and recover the tax dollars improperly paid to them.

“Staff from numerous government agencies, including the IRSTSA [Transportation Security Administration]FEMA [Federal Emergency Management Agency], the U.S. Postal ServiceAmtrak, and the Secret Service, have been detected receiving jobless benefits while also being on the federal government’s payroll,” Ernst said in a Jan. 30 statement.

“Some were even paid overtime at the same time [they were] claiming to have lost wages due to the pandemic. Others were so blatant, they actually applied for jobless benefits from their work computers.

“In addition to fleecing taxpayers, these unscrupulous bureaucrats have also tarnished the reputation of the other dedicated civil servants, many of whom worked long hours in essential jobs during the pandemic.”

More than $5 trillion in federally funded COVID-related benefits—including $716 billion in state-administered unemployment compensation—were authorized in response to the pandemic, which began in January 2020. More than 1 million Americans have died as a result of COVID-19.

Ernst expressed outrage that millions of Americans not working for the federal government lost their jobs and found themselves in desperate economic straits. The Iowa senator gave her January 2023 Squeal Award to the thousands of “fraudsters within the federal workforce who double dipped by being on both the government’s dole and the unemployment roll.”

“Millions of Americans lost their paycheck during the COVID-19 pandemic, as they found themselves jobless and unsure how they would provide for their family. While business owners and workers across the nation faced this economic uncertainty, federal employees were fortunate to have the reliability of a government paycheck,” Ernst said in her statement.


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