New Bill Would Give Lawmakers Access To Bank Accounts Of Unemployed

By Emma Koch

New Bill Would Give Lawmakers Access To Bank Accounts Of Unemployed

May 31, 2013 Updated May 31, 2013 at 10:12 AM EDT

GREEN BAY, Wis. (www.nbc33.com) -- Unemployed people in Wisconsin could soon find their private bank accounts being accessed by the state.

According to WGBA in Green Bay, a controversial new bill would allow the state to access jobless residents' bank accounts to make sure they're not being overpaid with benefits.

Wisconsin borrowed money from the federal government to finance unemployment benefits during the recession in 2008 and a total of $1.5 billion was owed.

State Representatives say this bill is in place to make sure that money is paid back.

State Representatives are worried job seekers are getting too much from unemployment benefits and a new bill would make sure that doesn't happen by monitoring private bank accounts.

"Gives the agency a chance to go back and collect or recover those payments," says Rep. Dan Knodle, R-Germanton. She continues that the law will make sure those who deserve that money get that funding.

"Those funds are for people who lose their jobs through no fault of their own," says Knodle.

Diane Green-Johnson of Green Bay says the government should already be on top of those overpayments.

"I think it should be returned back to whoever it came from, but i still don't agree with the checking into the bank account," says Green-Johnson.

Others like Orlando Lebron say too many people are improperly paid.

"That is a big problem and that's what i feel that this bill will address," says Lebron.

And State Representatives agree as it makes it way through Madison.

Public hearings on the bill were held Wednesday. Lawmakers are looking to pass the bill through committee by next week.

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