Unemployment Insurance Fraud and Consequences

It is important to understand the definition of unemployment insurance fraud in Arizona so that you can avoid even involuntarily committing it. UI fraud is defined as the misreporting, whether intentional or unintentional, of information that results in benefits payments the recipient is not qualified to receive. Typically, the Department of Economic Security (DES) is especially concerned with cases that result in an overpayment of unemployment benefits. However, examples of unemployment benefits fraud that may be unintentional are instances such as slight discrepancies in reported unemployment/re-employment dates or failure to be available to work during an eligibility week. Unemployment insurance fraud penalties are taken seriously and can include mandatory repayment of overpaid or even criminal charges since unemployment insurance fraud is considered a felony offense. To learn more about the penalty for unemployment fraud and how to report unemployment insurance fraud, continue reading the sections provided below.

UI Fraud in Arizona

Here are a few vital facts to know about unemployment insurance fraud that might not be obvious to new or uninformed claimants:

  • Failing to report earnings can result in serious legal action.

  • The discovery of falsified or omitted information that results in retaining or increasing benefits is a felony offense that can result in a high fine and even mandatory incarceration.

  • Benefits that have been overpaid due to fraud can recovered directly from your Arizona state income tax return, if applicable.

  • The Arizona Department of Economic Security receives a weekly list of newly hired and re-hired employees.

  • All Arizona unemployment insurance claims are audited each quarter (every four months).

Steering clear of UI fraud is simple and easy. While receiving unemployment assistance, be diligent and careful about reporting your weekly earnings every week and within the same week that you earned them even if you have not yet received the actual monies for that work yet. Avoid unemployment benefits fraud by remaining equally as cautious and honest about any eligibility issues you may face in a given week. For example, unemployment insurance fraud can occur if you turned down a job that was offered to you or if you were not available for work on a given day and fail to report it. To avoid charges of UI fraud, report these facts faithfully when asked in your weekly continuance of eligibility calls. Many claimants think they will be in trouble or lose benefits if they are frank and forthright about issues like these, but the reality is that a great deal more trouble will ensue by failure to do so. Unemployment benefits fraud can occur inadvertently when a claimant is less than candid about the events of a reporting week.

Unemployment Insurance Fraud Penalties in Arizona

The penalty for unemployment fraud in Arizona is steep and can be life-altering. Unemployment insurance fraud is considered a class VI felony. Punishments for being found guilty of UI fraud range from hefty fines totaling more than $100,000 and imprisonment. Penalties of unemployment benefits fraud are determined by each week falsification occurred. This means that if you falsified information for 10 weeks, each week will result in its own separate penalty. The DES also posts all criminal convictions for UI fraud quarterly on its public website. Get more information about unemployment insurance fraud penalties by downloading our free online guide.

How to Report Unemployment Insurance Fraud in Arizona

Unemployment insurance fraud is very seriously investigated by the Arizona DES for obvious reasons. These fraudulent claims can block legitimate beneficiaries from receiving unemployment aid. The Arizona DES website has an online form for reporting unemployment insurance fraud wherein informants can enter information regarding the names and addresses of suspected abusers of the system instantaneously. Before you report someone committing unemployment insurance fraud, make sure that you have the following information available:

  • Name(s) and address of the suspected person or persons

  • Name and address of workplace of the suspected person or persons

  • Last four digits of the Social Security Number(s) being utilized by the suspected person or persons

  • Date of birth and approximate age of the suspected person or persons

  • Names and contact information for any witnesses to the suspected fraud

It is also imperative when reporting someone committing unemployment insurance fraud that you are fully prepared to be contacted directly by the DES for further information if needed. The DES will not contact you as the reporter of the UI fraud unless it is absolutely necessary for the furtherance of the investigation. The more information you can provide about the unemployment fraud to the DES, the more likely that the culprit can be apprehended and the misappropriated unemployment assistance funds delivered to appropriate families in Arizona. For a comprehensive tool to aid in understanding unemployment insurance fraud in Arizona, download our helpful guide.

What Kinds of Employment Services Does Arizona Offer?

The state of Arizona offers various programs meant to assist residents who have become unemployed. These employment services include unemployment insurance programs and job training initiatives. To learn about how you can apply for unemployment benefits and receive job assistance in Arizona, download our guide today.

Who Is Eligible for Employment Services in Arizona?

Arizona residents that meet certain criteria can qualify to receive employment benefits and training. The state has set job loss standards that determine the eligibility and amount of benefits an individual may be able to receive. To find out if you are eligible for Arizona unemployment benefits, download our guide now.