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Are You Committing Unemployment Insurance Fraud By Accident?

Unemployment insurance fraud takes place when an individual conceals or misrepresents some information to get or increase unemployment insurance payments.


Most often, unemployment insurance frauds imply making a false statement about one's work and earnings. Sometimes the cases can also include work refusals, unreported travel, check forgeries, identity theft, inability to work, incarceration, perjury, non-availability for work, incorrect claims for dependent allowance, etc.

Here's everything you need to know about unemployment insurance fraud.

Types Of Unemployment Insurance Fraud

Woman researches the types of unemployment insurance fraud
  • Failing to report your employment. This includes: cash jobs, commission, self-employment, 1099, or temporary.
  • Making a false statement or misrepresenting information to increase or receive benefits (for example: not reporting school attendance when receiving benefits).
  • Not reporting your work refusals.
  • Fabricating job searches or not conducting a solid work search.
  • Not reporting a work separation.
  • Using another individual's identity (social security number and/or name) to work and file for insurance payments.
  • Failing to report being incapable and not available to work (for example: sick or injured, abroad, etc.) and receiving benefits.
  • Not reporting other types of reimbursement (for example: workers' compensation payments).
  • Helping somebody file a fraudulent insurance claim.

What Happens If You Commit Unemployment Insurance Fraud?

Couple tries to avoid unemployment insurance fraud

If you commit unemployment insurance fraud intentionally or accidentally (not knowing the regulations, for example), you have to pay back all the benefits that you received plus a penalty (50% of that sum).

In most cases, a person is going to be disqualified from getting unemployment benefits in the future (minimum 6 weeks for every week of receiving benefits). There can also be imprisonment and fines included depending on the sum of the received fraudulent benefits.

Unemployment fraud punishment may differ between U.S. states. The Department of Unemployment Insurance in Arizona, for example, has different periods of disqualification from collecting unemployment insurance benefits than in Colorado. You should check your state's law to get the full picture.

Repaying Over-Payments

Woman pays back her unemployment insurance over-payment

There can also be over-payment, which you must pay back. Some of the typical cases of over-payments include:

  • You report some information wrongly when you file for benefits, and that information is corrected after.
  • The Unemployment Insurance Program processes your claim erroneously.
  • Your income was wrongly reported by your employer.
There can be a repayment plan organized for you if you cannot repay the whole sum at once.

How Can Unemployment Insurance Fraud Be Detected?

Man reports a case of unemployment insurance fraud

There are a lot of ways how unemployment insurance fraud is identified. Here are some of them:

  • Public tips by internet, mail, or phone
  • New employer's hire reports
  • Cross-matches with some government records
  • Quality control audits
  • Claim center referrals
  • Other investigative efforts.
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These days, unemployment insurance fraud seldom goes unpunished. We hope this article has informed you about unemployment insurance fraud, and helps you avoid any potential mistakes while you're unemployed.


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This post was originally published at an earlier date.