The Ohio Department of Job and Family Services (ODJFS) has introduced their plans to take a big step towards collecting money owed by claimants who have collected unemployment payments fraudulently. Fraudulent claims have cost Ohio billions of dollars over the years. In 2011 there were $9.4 million in overpayments that included fraud and general overpayments.
When an overpayment is found, a notice is sent to the claimant with an amount that is expected to be paid back to the state agency. When this money is not paid back, the debt is sent on to the Attorney General’s office for collection. In the past, the only action the AG’s office could take would be to garnish State Income Tax refunds, state lottery winnings, or future unemployment claims. As you can imagine, this has not resulted in a rush of money coming back to the state’s UI Trust Fund.
On Monday, 07/09/12, the state of Ohio announced they have decided to allow the confiscation of not only State Income tax returns, but also FEDERAL Income tax returns when a claimant is found to have collected UI benefits fraudulently.
A claimant can be found guilty of fraud whenever they have been paid UI benefits they did not deserve. The most common fraud issues include: continuing to file after returning to work, not reporting part time wages, and even issues involving identity theft or using stolen SSN numbers.
Fraudulently filed claims have been on the rise, given the economic conditions of the last several years. People are resorting to unlawful means to collect any money they can. The Fraud Dept cross-checks employee info based on New Hire Reports as well as employers’ Quarterly Payroll Reports. ODJFS has responded by stepping up their Fraud detection and investigation department in size and scope. Additional team members have been hired, and they have greater access to information.
If you feel you have information regarding someone that is fraudulently filing an unemployment claim you can anonymously report the information by contacting the ODJFS Fraud Division at 800-686-1555, faxing info to 614-752-4808 or online on the new Benefit Payment Control Division website here.
In addition to garnishing income tax refunds, the ODJFS can press charges against anyone found guilty of fraudulently collecting UI payments. Payments totaling more than $500 are considered felony offenses.
Do you feel the ODJFS is taking care of business when it comes to Fraud?