Committing senior unemployment insurance fraud (also known as UI fraud) is the act of collecting unemployment benefits based on false or unreported claims. If seniors commit unemployment benefits fraud, possible penalties may include prosecution, jail time and/or the loss of future UI eligibility. To avoid these unemployment insurance fraud penalties, seniors must follow their state’s specific application requirements, regardless of whether they are filing an initial claim, certifying for benefits or reopening an existing claim. To avoid the penalty for unemployment fraud, seniors must also remember to accurately report their gross wages for any week in which they wish to receive UI compensation. Additionally, seniors may report someone committing unemployment insurance fraud by contacting and filing a complaint through their local unemployment insurance agency. To find out how to report unemployment insurance fraud and learn more about senior UI fraud, continue reading the sections below.
What is unemployment insurance fraud?
UI fraud is a serious crime and is often punishable by law, depending on the severity of the offense. When claimants commit unemployment fraud, they are knowingly lying to their state’s Unemployment Insurance Agency or Department of Labor (DOL) and providing them with misleading information. For instance, senior unemployment benefits fraud may include engaging in UI-related criminal activity or providing false or incomplete information when filing a claim for unemployment compensation. Additionally, unemployment benefits fraud may include any of the following:
- Collecting unemployment benefits while working full-time
- Working a part-time job while collecting UI compensation, but not reporting weekly or bi-weekly earnings
- Withholding application information or providing false information when filing a claim
- Applying for unemployment benefits using another person’s Social Security Number (SSN)
To avoid committing senior unemployment insurance fraud when filing a UI claim, petitioners must ensure that the application information they provide is truthful and meets the requirements set forth under state law. If claimants commit UI fraud, they may be subject to various types of unemployment insurance fraud penalties such as incarceration, fines and the full repayment of any fraudulent benefits received.
Furthermore, senior unemployment fraud may pertain to employers as well. For instance, employers may commit unemployment insurance fraud if they fail to accurately report employee wages or start dates to the appropriate agency. If employers or employees commit senior UI fraud unintentionally, however, they must contact their state unemployment agency as soon as possible to report the accidental fraudulent activity. For additional information on senior unemployment insurance fraud, download our comprehensive guide.
Learn About Unemployment Insurance Fraud Penalties
If seniors commit unemployment insurance fraud, they may be subject to severe penalties such as jail or prison time and/or the forfeiture of any future income tax payments, regardless of whether they intentionally or unintentionally commit fraud. Furthermore, penalties for unemployment fraud may include the following:
- Federal or state indictment
- Incarceration and/or fines
- Seizure of state or federal tax refunds
- Loss of future eligibility for unemployment benefits
- Repayment of UI benefits
To avoid these penalties for senior unemployment fraud, claimants must only provide truthful and complete information when filing a UI claim.
Reporting Unemployment Insurance Fraud
Petitioners may report senior unemployment insurance fraud if they suspect that they or someone else has committed fraudulent activity when filing a UI claim. To report someone committing unemployment insurance fraud, petitioners must first contact the local unemployment insurance agency for the state in which the criminal activity took place. However, if unemployment insurance fraud occurs in certain states, seniors must file the report through the Department of Labor (DOL) or a different agency. Claimants can usually file UI fraud reports online or by telephone, depending on the state in which they reside. In some states, claimants may report senior UI fraud by mail, email or fax. However, the process of reporting UI fraud may vary depending on whether petitioners need to report employer or employee fraud.
To report someone committing unemployment insurance fraud, the reporter must also be able to provide important information about the individual who is engaging in the criminal activity. To report senior unemployment insurance fraud, a claimant must provide the full name and address of the worker or employer in question and a reason for the reporter’s suspicions. When reporting someone committing unemployment insurance fraud, a petitioner must also provide the name of the worker’s previous employer, if known. In some cases, a claimant may need to provide the employee’s approximate age and date of birth, as well as his or her relationship to the worker in question. Furthermore, a claimant may report unemployment benefits fraud anonymously if he or she wishes. To learn more about reporting someone committing unemployment insurance fraud, download our informative guide here.