In a season where unprecedented numbers of Mississippians and Americans have relied on unemployment benefits to get them through the pandemic, there has been concern by some that those benefits could be abused by individuals who choose not to return to work as the economy continues to open.

Whether that is the intention behind this bill or not, HB 1283 would work to ensure that those receiving unemployment are meant to by creating the “Unemployment Insurance Integrity Act of 2021. The bill was authored by Senator Carpenter and referred to the Workforce Development committee.

The bill reads: 

AN ACT TO CREATE THE UNEMPLOYMENT INSURANCE INTEGRITY ACT OF 2021; TO PROVIDE DEFINITIONS; TO PROVIDE THAT TO ENSURE THE INTEGRITY OF THE STATE’S UNEMPLOYMENT INSURANCE PROGRAM AND TO VERIFY ELIGIBILITY AND PREVENT FRAUDULENT FILING AND PAYMENT OF CLAIMS, THE MISSISSIPPI DEPARTMENT OF EMPLOYMENT SECURITY SHALL USE THE INTEGRITY DATA HUB TO VERIFY THE INTEGRITY OF THE STATE’S UNEMPLOYMENT INSURANCE ROLLS, CHECK, ON A WEEKLY BASIS, THE UNEMPLOYMENT INSURANCE ROLLS AGAINST THE MISSISSIPPI DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS’ LIST OF INCARCERATED INDIVIDUALS TO VERIFY ELIGIBILITY AND ENSURE PROGRAM INTEGRITY, AND CHECK, ON A WEEKLY BASIS, NEW HIRE RECORDS AGAINST THE NATIONAL DIRECTORATE OF NEW HIRES TO VERIFY ELIGIBILITY; AND FOR RELATED PURPOSES.

The bill is a general bill and will have to pass before Tuesday’s deadline in order to move forward.