District of Columbia Unemployment Fraud
Washington DC unemployment fraud
UI fraud happens when you knowingly give false information to get benefits you’re not entitled to. This is against the law, and people who do it can face serious consequences.
Examples of unemployment fraud
Some examples of unemployment insurance fraud include:
- Lying to the state agency and purposefully providing wrong information on your DC unemployment application
- Working while still getting benefits
- Not reporting earnings on your unemployment insurance claim
People who commit UI fraud may be ineligible for benefits in the future, and there is now a federal penalty for fraudulent overpayments.
Everyone who receives DC Unemployment Insurance benefits has to follow the rules set by the state. Submitting a fraudulent claim can have serious consequences for you and your family.
How to report DC unemployment fraud
To report fraud, call (877) 372-8360
You can call this number if you think you may have committed fraud. DOES will make every effort to help you resolve any issues. You can also call this number if you would like to report someone else committing UI fraud.
On a national level, you can report fraudulent activity to the National Center for Disaster Fraud (NCDF). Submit a complaint form online or call 866-720-5721.
Receiving improper payments
The collection of incorrect unemployment insurance benefit payments is called an improper payment. If you receive an improper payment, the Department of Employment Services (DOES) will send you a document explaining why and how much money you need to pay back.
Some common reasons for getting an improper payment are:
- Not reporting all the money you earned
- Reporting the wrong amount of money you earned, like only reporting how much you take home instead of the total amount
- Getting paid for the weeks you got unemployment benefits and also getting paid by your employer for those same weeks
- Losing a DC unemployment appeal after collecting payments
- Filing weekly claims even though you’re working full-time
If you receive an improper payment, you have to pay back all the money. You can pay it all at once or you can make a payment plan with DOES. If you don’t pay it back, you might not get any unemployment benefits in the future. If you still don’t pay it back, legal action might be taken to collect the money you owe. Your DC income tax refunds and your wages if you work for the District government might also be used to pay back what you owe.
If DOES finds out that you gave them false information, you have to pay back the money plus an extra 15%. So if you got $400 in improper payments, you have to pay back $460.
If you lied or didn’t give important information to get more benefits, you might not be able to get benefits for a year after your benefit year ends. You might also get in trouble with the law and go to jail.
Overpayments happen when you get benefits that you shouldn’t have received. You’ll get a letter telling you how much you were overpaid and why. Common reasons for overpayments include not reporting your earnings or reporting them incorrectly. If you keep getting benefits after you start working full-time, that’s also an overpayment.
There are different ways to find out if someone got an overpayment, like checking with employers or looking at wages in other states. If you’re overpaid, you have to pay the money back. You can pay it all at once or in smaller amounts over time. If you don’t pay it back, you will face penalties.
If you got an overpayment because you lied or didn’t tell the truth, you could be in serious trouble. You might have to pay a 15% penalty on top of what you owe, and you could be disqualified from getting benefits for up to a year. You might even face criminal charges.
How to send repayments
To pay back the money you owe to the Department of Employment Services (DOES), make a check or money order out to them and include your full name and the last four digits of your Social Security Number.
Mail your payment to:
Department of Employment Services
Benefit Payment Control Branch
4058 Minnesota Avenue NE – Suite 3100
Washington, DC 20019
If you don’t pay back the full amount you owe, or if you don’t follow the payment plan you agreed on with DOES, they can take money from your future wages, income tax returns, or unemployment claims from any state to pay off what you owe.
If you can’t make the payments, you can ask for a waiver. But if you received an improper payment because of fraud, your waiver request will be denied.
Another form of UI fraud is identity theft. This is when someone applies for unemployment compensation using someone else’s personal information.
If you believe someone filed for UI benefit payments under your name or Social Security number without your permission, report it immediately.
Contact the DC Attorney General’s office:
Office of the Attorney General for the District of Columbia
4441 4th Street NW, Suite 1100 South
Washington, D.C. 20001
Phone: (202) 442 – 9828
Be sure to report suspicious communications to DOES: Report Suspicious UI Communication. It’s also a good idea to file a police report with the Metropolitan Police Department. Keep any confirmation or case number you receive and make a record of who you spoke with, along with the date and time.
How the District of Columbia prevents unemployment fraud
Identify verification process
The District of Columbia has implemented an Identity Verification & Authentication security feature to verify the identity of applicants during the online application process for unemployment benefits. The process occurs during the initial unemployment claim, when reopening a claim, or filing an additional claim.
During the initial claims application, your personal information is verified by cross-matching the information provided against a records database, and by asking a series of multiple-choice questions based on information only you would know. If the information does not match or the questions are not answered correctly, an issue is generated that prevents receiving benefits.
To complete the verification process, the Office of Unemployment Compensation requires the following documentation to verify your identity:
- Social Security card
- Government-issued photo ID
- Other documentation containing your name and current mailing address may be requested
All UI recipients must verify their identity in order to collect unemployment compensation. You are not allowed to decline the Identity Verification & Authentication program.
Instructions for verifying your identity
Here are the instructions for submitting your identity verification documents to the DC Office of Unemployment Compensation:
- Your unemployment insurance benefit payments will not be paid until your identity has been properly verified through the submission of approved identity documentation.
- You will receive a phone call or email containing a list of acceptable identity verification documents.
- If you are contacted, you will be required to submit a copy of your social security card and a state-issued photo identification to the encrypted DOES email address: DOESUI.Verification@dc.gov.
- Once your documentation has been received, the Office of Unemployment Compensation will review it and render a decision on the validity of your identity.
- Non-residents of the District of Columbia are permitted to fax or email copies of their identity documentation. You will receive instructions on this process from an unemployment compensation claims examiner who will contact you either by phone or email.
Protect your credit from fraudulent unemployment claims
To protect yourself from UI benefits fraud, you can place a free one-year fraud alert by reaching out to one of the national credit bureaus. If you contact one bureau, they will share the information with the other two.
You can also check your credit reports regularly at AnnualCreditReport.com. Another option is to get a free credit report from each of the three national credit bureaus.
If you suspect identity theft, like seeing an unrecognized IRS form, account, or transaction, visit IdentityTheft.gov to file a report and start a personal recovery plan.