U.S. Department of Labor Offers Fraud Prevention Resources To Enhance Integrity of Unemployment Insurance Programs
WASHINGTON, DC – The U.S. Department of Labor today has released updated resources for employers, employees, and states to prevent fraud or misuse in the unemployment insurance system, including the new unemployment insurance programs under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act.
As states begin entering phased reopenings, the Department reiterated the obligations of employers, employees, and all workforce partners to protect the integrity of the unemployment insurance system. To that end, claimants should understand their state’s requirements on accepting offers of suitable employment; employers should understand their obligation to report all instances of potential fraud, waste or abuse; employers and claimants should understand that refusing suitable work may cause suspension of benefits; and workforce partners should pivot to employee engagement, employer outreach and job referrals for the more than 33 million Americans who find themselves unemployed.
The Department encourages reporting of unemployment insurance fraud in state systems, and the updated resources released today will assist in this reporting. The list of all state unemployment insurance fraud hotlines can be found at https://www.dol.gov/general/maps/fraud. Related additional frequently asked questions are also available here: https://www.dol.gov/coronavirus/unemployment-insurance. Report fraud, waste and abuse to the Department’s Office of the Inspector General.
“The integrity of the unemployment insurance system, including the new unemployment insurance programs under the CARES Act, is critical to ensuring temporary benefits are provided only to eligible claimants,” said Assistant Secretary for Employment and Training John Pallasch. “The Department of Labor will continue to help states quickly pay benefits to eligible claimants and ensure employers have access to the workforce they need to reopen, while protecting taxpayer dollars from fraud.”
Unemployment insurance fraud takes many forms. Employer fraud may include certain actions to avoid tax liability or establishing a fictitious employer account to enable fraudulent claims against that account. Claimant fraud may include knowingly submitting false information, knowingly continuing to collect benefits when ineligible, certifying for benefits under state law while not being able and available to work, or intentionally collecting full benefits while not reporting wages or income. Additionally, identify theft may result in unemployment insurance fraud that is neither the fault of the employer nor the identify theft victim.
The CARES Act includes the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation, Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, and Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation programs. In addition to its recent guidance related to continued eligibility for benefits, the Department has consolidated all state unemployment insurance fraud hotlines on one page for ease of access.
The mission of the Department is to foster, promote and develop the welfare of the wage earners, job seekers, and retirees of the United States; improve working conditions; advance opportunities for profitable employment; and assure work-related benefits and rights.