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Patrick, Esq.
Patrick, Esq., Lawyer
Category: California Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 6739
Experience:  Significant experience in all areas of employment law.
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Hello, I have a question regarding unemployment claims. I

Customer Question

Hello,
I have a question regarding unemployment claims.

I have been receiving unemployment benefits. I was working for a temp agency, and on several occasions did not claim it against my Employment Development Department (EDD) benefits by mistake. I then received a notice from the Employment Development Department that I am not eligible for benefits due to this matter. They provide a section for me contest their findings. I would like advice for my response. My errors were unintentional, but I am worried that it will appear otherwise. Any insight I can gain will be very helpful. Thank you so much.

Sincerely,
Nate
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: California Employment Law
Expert:  Patrick, Esq. replied 1 year ago.
Hello and thank you for entrusting me to answer your question. I am very sorry to hear about this difficult and likely stressful situation with the EDD.

First, you should know that the EDD classifies overpayments of UE benefits as either fraudulent or non-fraudulent.

A fraudulent overpayment occurs when a claimant knowingly gives false information or withholds information and receive benefits that they should not have received. Withholding or giving false information to obtain unemployment insurance benefits is a potentially criminal offense. Specifically, California Unemployment Insurance Code 2101 states:

"It is a violation of this chapter to willfully make a false statement or representation, to knowingly fail to disclose a material fact, or to use a false name, false social security number, or other false identification to obtain, increase, reduce, or defeat any benefit or payment..."

With a fraudulent overpayment, the claimant is assessed a penalty in the amount of 30% of the amount of the overpayment and a false statement disqualification of 5 to 23 weeks. Fraud overpayments and penalties must be repaid.

In a circumstance such as yours, it would be very hard to argue that the overpayment of benefits was not the result of an intentional and knowing false representation. This is because every time you recerify your claim for benefits, you are recertifying under penalty of perjury that you have reported all income. The EDD does not accept the excuse that claimants did not read or understand what they were certifying--otherwise, that's what everyone would surely claim. Thus, I hope you will appreciate my honesty in telling you that an overpayment under the circumstance you describe would likely be regarded as fraud.

Typically, the very best thing to do is come clean, admit to the wrongdoing, and take responsibility. You will have to pay the money back, likely along with the 30% penalty, but criminal charges may not be filed if you are up front, generally speaking.

At the EDD's discretion, they will refer the matter to the District Attorney, who will ultimately decide whether this matter is one worth prosecuting. Even if they did decide to prosecute, there are "first time offender" plea deals that will allow an individual in your circumstance to avoid jail time and, potentially, any criminal record whatsoever.

I realize that this is not all great news, but nonetheless, I hope that you appreciate receiving accurate information regarding your situation. I certainly understand where you are coming from and am sympathetic to your circumstance.

Please do not hesitate to let me know if you have any questions or concerns regarding the above and I will be more than happy to assist you further.

If you do not require any further assistance, I would be most grateful if you would remember to provide my service a positive rating, as this is the only way I will receive credit for assisting you.

Finally, please bear in mind that none of the above constitutes legal advice nor is any attorney client relationship created between us.

Very best wishes to you.
Patrick, Esq., Lawyer
Satisfied Customers: 6739
Experience: Significant experience in all areas of employment law.
Patrick, Esq. and other California Employment Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 1 year ago.


Thank you, I will let you know if I have further questions.


 


Sincerely,


Nate Stephens

Expert:  Patrick, Esq. replied 1 year ago.
You are very welcome, Nate. I am glad I coudl be of assistance. Best wishes.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.


Hello,


I have a follow up question for you. The EDD sent me an appeal form (DE1000M) to fill out if I do not agree with their finding, or I can reply with a letter. Should I reply if I am not going to contest their finding?


 


Thank you so much,


Nate


 

Expert:  Patrick, Esq. replied 1 year ago.
Yes, it would ordinarily be wise to reply--that way you can provide some sort of explanation for what happened. Although claiming you didn't understand the reporting requirements is not an excuse for failing to report income, it can be regarded as a mitigating factor and may influence the EDD's decision to refer the matter to the DA for potential prosecution.

Accordingly, an up front letter owning up to the error and an explanation for why it occurred ordinarily cannot hurt.

I hope this helps.

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