California has shelled out at least $20 billion in fraudulent unemployment benefits since the beginning of the pandemic, with 11% of all benefits paid in the Golden State.

That is more than the 2021 budgets of DelawareMaine, and Montana combined.

The $20 billion given to criminals who fraudulently collected benefits comes out of the more than $178 billion in unemployment benefits since the start of the pandemic, the Los Angeles Times reported.

State officials have blamed that on Congress’ quick expansion of unemployment benefits that allowed people to get weekly checks without safeguards to stop people who weren’t eligible.

California state officials approved at least $810 million in benefits in the names of people who were in prison, including dozens of infamous killers on death row, the Los Angeles Times reported, and even $21,000 in benefits were sent to an address in Roseville under the name and Social Security number of U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif.

Gov. Gavin Newsom’s administration said—finally—the fraud pipeline in California has been closed as the state has implemented new identity verification software that, along with other preventative measures, stopped an estimated $120 billion in fraud attempts.

With $20 billion gone to fraud, it’s about time California officials take some action and slow the flow of taxpayer money going to criminals.

This article was originally published by RealClearPolicy.

The Daily Signal publishes a variety of perspectives. Nothing written here is to be construed as representing the views of The Heritage Foundation.

Have an opinion about this article? To sound off, please email and we’ll consider publishing your edited remarks in our regular “We Hear You” feature. Remember to include the URL or headline of the article plus your name and town and/or state.