The IRS is having a difficult time processing applications for unemployment benefits.
The department says it’s been running out of staff for a while, but that’s putting a damper on the government’s ability to provide benefits to Americans.
The department’s applications are so backlogged that they’ve been making a big difference in the lives of those who applied, but they haven’t been filling up fast enough, the agency’s chief administrative officer told Congress Tuesday.
The IRS’ backlog has become so large that the agency is running out on staff to process unemployment benefits applications, the IRS said in a new report.
The agency is looking for about 150 more employees to handle the backlog.
The new hires won’t be able to process all of the applications, so the agency will need to fill the backlog with additional staff, which means it could take months before the government can process all applications for the remaining unemployment benefits in the country.
As of Monday, the government was using about 1,400 full-time employees to process its applications, but those employees are only allowed to work for a maximum of eight hours a day.
That means the agency could have a backlog of applications that would take months to process.
The agency is trying to speed up the process, but there are concerns about whether that’s the best way to address the backlog, according to a senior IRS official.
The official added that the IRS is also concerned about the quality of applications.
The latest report from the government also revealed that the unemployment benefit backlog has increased in the last year.
The number of applications for benefit benefits has jumped by more than 6,000 from April through June, the data show.
That increase is particularly concerning because, during that same time period, the unemployment rate for the unemployed was just 1.6 percent.
While the unemployment benefits backlog has grown, the department is still struggling to find new staff to help handle the application process.
That has led the agency to seek a temporary staff reduction, which the administration says will help the agency handle applications more quickly.
The temporary staff reductions have already begun, and the agency said Tuesday that the department has requested a total of 3,200 temporary positions in the coming weeks.