Kansas.gov

Unemployment Fraud

What is unemployment fraud?

Unemployment fraud is the willful misrepresentation of information by an individual for purposes of collecting unemployment benefits. Anyone who collects unemployment while knowingly doing something that would make them ineligible has committed fraud.

What are some things that can cause fraud?

Fraud occurs when a claimant receives benefits:
  • and has refused suitable work and fails to report this
  • and is not looking for work
  • while working and does not report those earnings
  • while working and does not report the correct amount of earnings
  • while operating their own business
  • and knowingly misrepresents that they are able and available for work (for example, the claimant is on vacation, out of town, in jail or in the hospital)

What’s the penalty for unemployment fraud?

Someone found to have committed fraud is disqualified from receiving any unemployment benefits for a period of five years and can be prosecuted for making false statements or withholding material information to obtain benefits not due to the individual.

Why should I care if someone commits unemployment fraud?

Each year, employers pay unemployment taxes which are deposited into the Unemployment Insurance (UI) Trust Fund. Some unemployment benefits are paid out from this fund to workers who have lost their jobs through no fault of their own. Employers’ tax rates are affected when workers make claims against their account. Fraud can have a negative impact on these employers. Fraud may also reduce the balance of the UI Trust Fund which impacts payments to those who are unemployed. The Kansas Department of Labor (KDOL) wants to ensure unemployment benefits are not being diverted from the UI Trust fund to those who are not eligible. Funds recovered from those fraudulently receiving regular unemployment benefits are returned to the UI Trust Fund, as appropriate.

Can a claimant work part-time while receiving benefits?

Yes, you may receive some unemployment benefits if you have other wages. You can receive benefits, or a portion of your benefits, if you work less than full time and earn less than your weekly benefit amount. You must report all wages earned that week when you file your weekly claim. (See Payment Information)

Can a claimant go on vacation while receiving benefits?

A primary requirement for receiving unemployment is that you must look for and be able and available to work while you are receiving unemployment benefits. This would mean a week spent away on vacation, or even in the hospital, could mean you cannot collect unemployment because you wouldn’t be able and available to accept or look for a job.

Can a claimant turn down a job while receiving benefits?

You are not eligible for unemployment benefits if you fail without good cause to accept suitable work if it is offered to you. Suitability is determined by considering your skills, training, experience and capabilities needed for the job. Labor market conditions must also be taken into consideration when considering the suitability of any work offered (your prospects for work, the number of jobs available in your chosen occupation or skills area, etc.). Did the job meet federal/state standards in that the working conditions were not substantially less favorable than those prevailing for similar work in the labor market? If it is determined the job is suitable and you failed to accept the work, you are disqualified from benefits.

If the job was suitable, did you have good cause for refusing the work? Did you refuse the job because of illness, hospitalization, lack of child care or transportation, etc.? These are availability issues. In order to establish good cause, you must have made every reasonable attempt to remove the restriction.

If you refused work for a job-related reason – wages, hours, type of work, distance, etc. – good cause is based on your length of unemployment, prior earnings/working conditions, prospects of other employment and availability of work in the labor market.

Can a member of a union that is on strike receive unemployment benefits?

If you are involved in a strike (labor dispute) you are not eligible for unemployment benefits during the strike if you refuse to cross the picket line. Individuals who are part of a temporary layoff by their employer are eligible to apply for unemployment benefits during the layoff period.

Can a claimant receive benefits in Kansas while working a full-time job in another state?

No, you cannot collect unemployment once you return to full-time work, no matter if it is in a different state or for a different employer.

Can a claimant operate their own business and receive benefits at the same time?

If he or she is operating a full-time business, he or she is not eligible. If this is a part-time occupation such as selling cosmetics or vitamin supplements, the income must be reported and it might reduce any benefits to which he or she is entitled.

Can a claimant receive unemployment benefits and workers compensation payments at the same time?

No. You cannot receive workers compensation for temporary or permanent total disability under the Workers Compensation Law of any state and receive unemployment benefits simultaneously.

Can a claimant go to school or attend training while receiving unemployment benefits?

It depends on the type and timing of the training. A claimant in an approved training course is eligible to receive unemployment benefits as long as they continue to meet all the requirements of that program, reporting progress as requested. A claimant taking classes that are not classified as approved training must continue to look for work and be available for work in order to receive unemployment benefits, even if this interferes with their class schedule.

What happens if I’m overpaid unemployment benefits?

If you receive benefits you are not entitled to, you are required to repay the benefits, even if someone else made the mistake that caused the incorrect payment. When a potential overpayment is detected, we may ask you to provide information as we investigate. If an overpayment has been established, we will mail a notice of determination explaining how the overpayment occurred, the amount overpaid and how to repay the amount due. If you believe that the notice is incorrect, you have the right to appeal.

If it is determined that a claimant received more money than they were entitled to, their case is turned over to the Benefit Payment Control (BPC) unit to collect the debt. You may contact the BPC unit at 785-296-3609 to make arrangements to repay an overpayment. You may repay it in a lump sum or by making payments. If you have an overpayment, we will withhold future benefits payments and apply it towards the amount due. In addition, any federal and state tax refunds you may be due will be intercepted and applied to the overpayment in each year an overpayment remains.

It is to your advantage to repay overpayments as soon as possible. Kansas law requires that we collect interest on your overpayment, which over time will increase the amount you must repay.

How do you catch fraud?

The Kansas Department of Labor has a special Fraud Investigations unit that handles all allegations of Fraud. The group’s purpose is to detect, investigate and prosecute, if necessary, incorrect payments of UI benefits.

Most leads come from a quarterly cross-match of audits sent to employers. The audit checks for claimants who received benefits in the same quarter they also received wages reported by an employer. We also use the national and state directory of new hires to check for those collecting benefits after starting a new job.

Tips from the public are a great source of information in catching fraudulent activity. If you believe someone is fraudulently collecting unemployment benefits, please report it immediately to our Fraud Investigations unit. All allegations of fraud are investigated.

Can anyone report fraud?

Yes, if you suspect that someone is fraudulently receiving unemployment benefits, please notify the Fraud Investigations unit. Be sure to include as much information as possible so that we can adequately investigate your claim. If you do not have all the information requested, don’t worry—just tell us what you do know.

Can you report anonymously?

Yes. You can make an anonymous report, but providing us with your contact information allows us to obtain additional information if necessary.

Are all reported fraud cases investigated?

All allegations of fraud are investigated. The more information you can provide, the better chance we have of conducing a successful investigation.

What information do you need when I report a suspected fraud case?

The two most important pieces of information to report are the person’s full name and the reason you believe they are committing fraud. Other information that may help us correctly identify the individual includes the person’s address, phone number, birth date, the last four digits of his or her Social Security number as well as their current employer’s name and address. See the online or downloadable reporting forms for more details.

How do I report my suspicions of UI fraud?

You can report fraudulent activity by:

  • The electronic or printable fraud report form
  • Email: Fraud@dol.ks.gov
  • Phone: (785) 296-6480
  • Fax: 785-296-5779
  • Mail: UI Fraud Investigations Unit
    Kansas Department of Labor
    401 SW Topeka Boulevard
    Topeka, KS 66603-3182