What is fraud?
Fraud is making false statements or failing to report material facts while collecting unemployment
benefits. The Idaho Department of Labor discovers improper payments in a number of ways, including notification from employers when new employees are hired. If we find you were paid benefits for any week that you were employed and did not report wages or reported wages incorrectly, we must investigate.
All claims are subject to random audits. If your claim is picked for an audit, an auditor will contact you to go over your claim.
The auditor also will contact former employers to verify payroll records and the reason you became unemployed. We want to make certain that only eligible claimants receive benefits and that each claimant is paid the proper amount. If you are audited, it is critical that you promptly respond to these audit requests. Failure to do so or failure to explain adequately any discrepancies noted could result in an unemployment insurance fraud decision and an overpayment.
What are some examples of fraud?
- Continuing to file for unemployment benefits when you become fully employed
- Failing to correctly report weekly earnings when filing your weekly continued claim reports
- Failing to notify the Idaho Department of Labor when you quit or are discharged from work or when you refuse work
- Failing to seek work when required
- Allowing someone else to use your PIN to obtain benefits
- Making false statements while being interviewed regarding your claim
- Knowingly making a false statement on any of the forms or pages you fill out in relation to your claim such as misstating the reason for separation from your employer
- Failing to properly report any material fact or making a false statement when filing weekly
What are the penalties for fraud?
Individuals who defraud Idaho’s unemployment insurance system are subject to a possible felony conviction and must repay the entire amount in addition to penalties. These individuals will have to wait a minimum of 52 weeks and repay fraudulently received benefits in full before obtaining future benefits.
The penalty amounts are as follows:
- 1st offense: 25% of the overpayment amount
- 2nd offense: 50% of the overpayment amount
- 3rd (or more) offense: 100% of the overpayment amount
What can I do to avoid committing fraud?
Avoid the pitfalls that lead to fraud:
- Actively look for work and report your efforts each week. Actively seeking work means you must contact employers who hire people with your jobs skills. If you cannot find a position with those skills, you must expand your search and look for other work you can do. You also must be willing to accept part-time work while waiting for full-time work.
- Accurately report weekly earnings while drawing benefits. If you obtain temporary or part-time employment while accepting unemployment insurance benefits, you must report the wages earned each week so your unemployment insurance benefits can be adjusted accordingly.
- Do not attempt to continuing receiving benefits after returning to full-time work. Once you return to work full time, you are no longer eligible to collect benefits. Continuing to collect benefits could lead to monetary penalties and criminal prosecution.
- Be honest about your ability and availability while receiving benefits. You must be willing and able to accept both full- and part-time work in your field of expertise. Putting limits on the shifts, days or distance you will travel for work can make you ineligible for benefits. If you cannot work because of an illness, injury or some other physical or mental conditions or incarceration contact your local Department of Labor office.
- Do not borrow someone’s identity to receive benefits. Stealing someone else’s identity to collect benefits is a felony that will subject you to criminal prosecution.
- Do not collect benefits while on vacation. A weekly benefit payment should not be seen as an easy way to fund a trip you’ve always wanted to take. If you leave the area for a non-vacation reason while collecting benefits, you must continue to look for work and report your efforts. If you do take a vacation, you must report that on your weekly claim as not being available for that week, and you will not be paid benefits during that time period.
- Do not help someone else file a fraudulent claim. Assisting any individual in defrauding the unemployment insurance system will subject you to the same financial penalties and potential prosecution of the person caught defrauding the system.
- Notify the Department of Labor when you refuse, quit or are discharged from a job while drawing benefits. You must notify your nearest Idaho Department of Labor office if you refuse a job, quit or are discharged from a job while drawing unemployment insurance benefits so a determination of eligibility can be made.
- Do not share your PIN. You are responsible for any activity that occurs with your PIN number.
What if I get a full-time job?
You should not claim benefits for any week in which you worked full time. You are no longer eligible to collect benefits. There is no need to call your local office; simply quit filing your weekly claim. Continuing to collect benefits could lead to monetary penalties and criminal prosecution. The next time you work less than full time and want to claim benefits, you will need to reopen your claim.
How do I report fraud?
If you know of someone who is defrauding the system, you can report it anonymously by calling 1-877-540-8638. Fraud can also be reported on the Idaho Department of Labor website.
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