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Unemployment Fraud Questions

For millions of Americans, unemployment benefits are critical to keep their families going. When you register for unemployment benefits, your application is a legal document that may entitle you to compensation, based on the conditions that you are currently unemployed, fit to work and will seek work. Any incorrect information about your work status or details in your application can be construed as misrepresentation of facts to commit unemployment fraud, which could lead to criminal proceedings.

What is unemployment fraud? Many have benefited from asking Experts on JustAnswer for fast and affordable answers. Here are the top questions answered by Lawyers.

What is unemployment fraud?

You may be guilty of unemployment insurance fraud if you hold back information from or give false information to the Department of Labor. You must report the true reason you were released from employment. If you work while receiving benefits, you must report all full-time and part-time employment to the Labor Department or you could risk criminal penalties.

Does overpayment of benefits constitute fraud?

If by no fault of your own, you have received benefits to which you are not entitled, you may not have to repay a non-fraudulent overpayment depending on your circumstances. However, you may receive a notice telling you if the overpayment must be repaid. Whether you have to repay the overpayment or not can also depend on the specifics of your case. If you are not sure what you should do, you can ask a Criminal Lawyer.

What are the penalties for unemployment fraud and overpayment?

In most cases, both unemployment fraud penalties and overpayment must be repaid. If you are convicted for receiving benefits by giving false information, it could include a financial penalty to the extent of 30% of the overpayment and a false statement disqualification of 5- 23 weeks.

If you receive a notice and do not repay your overpayment promptly, EDD may deduct the money owed from your future weekly unemployment or state insurance benefits. EDD may also reduce or totally withhold your state income tax refunds, lottery winnings or any other money owed to you by the state. It could also file a claim against you in court, charge you court costs and interest and record a lien on your property. In some cases, prosecution can be initiated with arrest.

How to avoid penalty or criminal proceedings?

In a majority of unemployment compensation fraud cases, when a person makes full restitution for the overpayment, the chances of prosecution are drastically reduced and generally they are not prosecuted. But, you would need an attorney to negotiate a payment plan with EDD as they will usually not negotiate this directly with you.

You only get a criminal record if you end up getting convicted. The decision to prosecute is at the sole discretion of the director of the agency. However, if the money is returned, the State has much less ground to pursue a claim. If you have more questions on the penalty for overpayment and unemployment fraud, ask a Lawyer on JustAnswer.

Can an individual self-disclose unemployment fraud?

Yes. The chances of no prosecution or prosecution with a more lenient result are far greater if a person self-reports and has the money to pay back on-the-spot or through a repayment plan. It is best to have a criminal defense attorney to help handle the self-reporting to make sure that there are no misrepresentations when you file — such as your disclosure being construed as a confession to fraud.

Can a person work part-time or start a business while receiving unemployment?

You are allowed to work part-time while receiving benefits. If you work less than four days in a week, you may receive partial benefits. Each day or part of a day of work could result in your weekly benefit rate being reduced. Receiving partial benefits extends the length of time you may collect benefits until you receive your maximum benefit amount or until your benefit year ends, whichever comes first.

You could be considered to be employed if you are engaged in operating or starting a business either by yourself, with a partner or in a corporate arrangement. Time spent during the day, evening or on weekends preparing to start or actually operating a business may be considered employment even though no sales are made nor any compensation received.

Unemployment fraud is a serious offense that can even result in imprisonment. As citizens, the bonus of being on the right side of the law is normally on us. With the laws differing from state to state and by circumstances, it can be difficult to be legally well informed at all times. Consulting a lawyer can be both expensive and time consuming. An option is to ask a lawyer on JustAnswer – you get quick answers, Expert insights and recommended legal action.

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