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Unemployment Insurance Fraud

Updated : February 18th, 2021

United States is one of the few countries in the World which maintains a well frameworked and efficient social security benefits system in place. A range of benefits for all ethnic groups, ages and classes makes it a leader in social welfare schemes across the World. Many of the developed and booming economies across the globe have replicated these schemes in their own countries benefitting millions of citizens.

Unemployment Insurance

One of the prominent government provided benefits is the unemployment insurance which provides limited weekly monetary relief to jobless citizens who are out of work due to involuntary reasons. The labor department in each state administers its own  insurance scheme under the federal guidance.

The weekly dole is paid out to unemployed persons from a pool funded largely by  unemployment taxes collected from employers and substantial contributions by the federal and state governments. In order to be eligible to receive the weekly compensation, an unemployed claimant should fulfill the laid out criteria that differs from state to state. Knowingly providing incorrect information at the time of application or manipulating facts to receive or maximise unemployment is considered a fraud and is punishable under the law.

Unemployment Insurance Fraud

Committing a fraud is a serious offence under labor laws in all states across the country. There are strict laws enacted because protecting the integrity of the unemployment benefits system is on top of the agenda. States are determined to ensure an accountable system.Fraud Prevention

Let us understand what constitutes a fraud so that you are well educated in filing and managing your weekly UI claim.

Examples of Fraud are

  • A claimant returns to work or lands a job and continues to make weekly claims to receive benefits.
  • A claimant does not report accurate wages to the DOL. Lets say you failed to report severance or other payout from your employer during application.
  • A claimant is working part time and does not report the income earned or has undertaken a temporary job, withholds the earnings intentionally.
  • A claimant holds back any other information or provides false details at the time of application.
  • A claimant claiming unemployment compensation on behalf of someone else by providing wrong identity.

A claimant must be vigilant and understand the UI system. Ignorance or tardiness can have unprecedented consequences. We must underline the basic fact that all applications and claims are tracked with the SSN.

The labor departments in many states actively encourage its citizens to report UI fraud to avert monetary losses.

Penalties for Committing a Fraud

Fraud is a criminal offence and the consequences of it may attract one or more penalties as below.

  • Repayment of benefits collected including fines and other charges
  • Barred from collecting benefits in the future
  • Repayment of benefits collected including fines and other charges
  • Prosecution for criminal charges and possible jail sentence

Needless to say, the above list is not exhaustive. We’ve only described the most common penalties.

How to Keep Away From Fraud

By simply knowing the rules and your responsibilities. At any point of time, should a question arise, you must immediately contact the phone service of the labor dept in your state.

  • Report gross and accurate wages.
  • If you are under a severance payout, apply only towards the end of it.
  • Provide correct information at the time of filing. Do not manipulate or suppress.
  • Apply for and maintain work search records as requested.
  • Be willing to accept a suitable job offer and report to DOL if you denied the offer for a valid reason.

The labor department’s work with various agencies to detect and prevent fraud. This also includes a well co-ordinated network with federal agencies for data exchange on claimants, wages etc.

Reporting Fraud in Your State

Known cases of fraud are quite a common occurrence. Fraudsters hoodwink and receive thousands of dollars of unemployment insurance. There are cases of scams that cause major financial loss to the state exchequer.

If you know someone who is cheating to make financial gains by drawing UI or suspect a person to be deceiving the system, report it immediately to the labor dept in your state. All of them have an exclusive hotline number to report and manage fraud cases. You can find the relevant and contact information on the respective websites.

As a responsible citizen of the country, you must consider it an obligation to report any suspicious activity. Your identity will be kept confidential and in some states, you have an option to remain anonymous.

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  1. I had trouble getting my proof of self-employment to upload in secure file exchange and finally got it submitted by 12:06 am , 6 minutes late. What are the possibilities that they will deny it? I have received unemployment from March 2020 to some of Jan and some in Feb 2021. Most of Dec, Jan, Feb, March, & april were stopped for this proof of employment.
    Also, I see proof of Income as a 2nd issue but it is always on there. That was not on my TO DO list.
    I feel for u all on ID.ME…

    Anyone trying to reach UI, call their number, press 2 or 3 (questions abt filing a claim?) and then wait thru the message. At the end of it, u will be connected to a live person! I promise.. don’t push another button.. I’ve done it 4 times and it never failed.

    We lost our home, my ex took my child…. (kept her after a visit and called cps facilitating drama while the cops wouldn’t give her back without paperwork locked up in the court house..shut down for covid) I raised her by myself for 12 years & now she is with a violent alcoholic and parental alienating parent .. ….my dog, my 9-year sweet little best friend, was attacked, passing away 3 days later.. all in this time frame.
    But! It will all be ok. I have faith.

    Be grateful for your life and all that is in it today. What u dwell on daily will be your strength or weakness.
    Good luck to all of u.
    And thank you, Jeff, for responding out here. It is appreciated!
    Davulia S.

  2. I filed over two months ago. I have not received any information. My status says “pending resolution”. I have no way of contacting anyone. My position was eliminated at my job and I submitted the documentations online. I dont know what else I can do.

  3. I have been apply Ohio Pua unemployment since July 5th still pending issues. Upload what they ask for when ever I call says your case is in Adjudication. Very very frustrated, financially I am broke. Health issues. Waiting a long period.Don’t know what I will do ?

    1. Nafisa,

      I can understand your situation. There will be a delay considering the number of applications that are being processed. Please continue chasing the office/check your status online at regular intervals until payments normalize.

    2. Same here since Feb 2021 turned in all the documents still pending issues 3 months now. When you call they tell you to be patient. Pulling my hair out it’s so frustrating.

  4. I was receiving PUA unemployment. they made me file for a new claim in February. Now I am in adjudication even though I gave all the same information from my previous claim. Have been adjudication since February and I call and they say they will put in a ticket to have an Adjudicator call me. Nothing. I am wondering If I can go down to to Maryland Unemployment Office and demand that someone talk with me to release my claim for payment. It’s been 56 days. I read that they have a maximum of 45 days.

    1. Luis,

      Your adjudicator may be inundated with pending cases. Please continue to follow up (if you have the contact details) or consider the option of visiting an office in the vicinity if safe and feasible.

    2. t sounds just like mine only im disqualified yet actie every till sept 4th . they haven’t asked me for anything! i file then its disqualified yet im told im ok and have nothing to do bit wait for an answer? answer to what? they switched my program and all and asked me to provide proof for a claim that wa denied al eady back in 2018! deny me once and then again perhaps? lol idk

  5. My mom had unemployment in Florida. She just recently moved temporally to California with a sister since she needs assistance, and now the website is telling her she cannot do anything because she is register in another state. Can she keep filing unemployment in Florida, even if she is living and register now in another state? how is the process to change the unemployment? I tried calling and there is no answer. Thank you!

    1. Stephanie,

      Please ask your mother to consider transferring the UI benefits from FL to CA (details will be available on either of the websites). If there are benefits weeks left in the account, she will be able to claim them.

    1. Leatha,

      UI benefits are offered to claimants who lose employment involuntarily and be able to and available for work.

  6. I lived in ga in 2019 and move to florida in 2020 and work for the xmas months in nov-dec. I was told to do a combine wage claim. my question is which state do i file the claim in?

  7. I filed for pua in Ohio back in October 2020.My claim has been in ajudacatuon since 11/1/20.So 2 to 6 weeks is a total understatement! When I call.i am told to basically hurry up and wait some more.I have recently been redetermined and my claim is allowed.but I have one pending issue.How long is too long?

    1. Nicole,

      Unfortunately, nobody has an answer. There are perhaps thousands of pending applications. Please consider the option of visiting an office in the vicinity if safe and feasible.

  8. If you claim your weeks for unemployment and for the next 2 months you still have not received your money. Where can you go in volusia county to talk with a live person

      1. HI Jeff,
        I applied back in Dec 5th, 2020 and I haven’t received any correspondence, is there a local office that I can make an appt to make certain my claim is right.

        1. Adam,

          You can consider visiting an office in the vicinity if safe and feasible (details will be available on the Unemployment Office’s website).

  9. On NYS DOL website, my claim is saying current yet the information is for my old claim with 0 days remaining despite receiving 2 weeks of payments on the new claim and I was able to certify last night. I haven’t received anything; no letters or emails.

  10. I was disqualified for UI benefits for not providing an ID and other forms of identification. How do I fix this?

        1. Gary,

          You may not be eligible since unemployment insurance is only extended to those who become unemployed due to involuntary reasons.

    1. Hi Mike, I’m in NYS and was at the end of my BYE on 3/14, I was still certifying but wasn’t getting paid. I found out I had to file a new claim because my other was exhausted. I’m still waiting on approval. Maybe you have to file a new claim. I hope this helps.

  11. They say 2-6 weeks it’s more accurate to say 2-6 months; and when you call many of them are rude and unwilling to assist!

  12. someone needs to look into Sharon L. Anton gillette, wyo. or dickinson, nd she is a fraud and has done so many fraudulent things and please look into her

    1. Annette,

      Please report it to the Fraud Division of the Unemployment Office in your state. You can report on the website.

  13. I worked part time for thee years here in florida. I’m currently not working. I’m also retired and collects social security.
    My question is
    Am I qualified to file for unemployment ?

    1. Ruby,

      To be eligible, you’re required to have sufficient hours and earnings. Please use the “Benefits Calculator” available on this website.

  14. So adjudication takes 8 to 12 weeks. Oh okay, that explains why I havent received payment since July. That surely helps just like the rest of the information that you give. And by the way. What’s the NEW reason you can’t get through to the Call Center.

    1. Maria,
      I have gotten through to the call center (live agent) every time i’ve tried calling within the last 2 weeks. The number to a live agent (follow the prompts carefully) is (667)-207-6520. i have gotten through within 10 to 15 mins with each call i had made!

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