LOUISVILLE — Kentucky’s Auditor of Public Accounts, Mike Harmon said the state’s Office of Unemployment Insurance is unable to accurately determine the amount of claims still outstanding while a large backlog of claims remain unresolved.

In a letter to Kentucky’s Finance and Administration Cabinet Secretary on Tuesday, he noted that the removal of some internal controls in order to hasten the processing of unemployment benefit payments increased the risk of fraud and misstatements. He also reported that the audit found that payments were paid to claimants without verifying whether or not they were eligible.

“It is imperative for UI officials to address the problems that led to this issue, so that reliable data can be provided for the current fiscal year and going forward,” Harmon said.

In a statement on the auditor’s report, a spokesperson for the Kentucky Labor Cabinet insisted that the audit report did not include information on how the Office of Unemployment Insurance cooperated with the auditor to provide numbers, and added that the auditor did not accept the information the cabinet offered.

“Kentuckians can expect the Governor’s next budget will include funding to upgrade the unemployment insurance system, to replace the more than 90 employees the General Assembly cut in previous budgets and reopen offices to help Kentucky workers when they need it most,” Kevin Kinnaird said.