Oregon Public Broadcasting

The federal government says Oregon needs to do a better job at monitoring the unemployment benefits it pays out.

Last year, the Oregon Employment Department overpaid at least$44 million in unemployment benefits. Most of it went to people who continued to collect benefits even after they returned to work.

The Statesman Journal reports that the state managed to get back about $20 million of that total.

But that's just from overpayments that state officials were able to track.

The U.S. Department of Labor says that's not good enough. Federal officials say Oregon is one of the worst states in the country for discovering overpayments.

According to the Labor Department, Oregon officials only know about 28 percent of overpayments. The average rate nationwide is 58 percent.

Employment agency officials say it's a "serious problem," and that they hope to be in compliance within a year.

This story originally appeared on Oregon Public Broadcasting.

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