Frequently Asked Questions
What is unemployment fraud?
Unemployment fraud is the willful misrepresentation of information by a worker to collect 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 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 is not 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 one year 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 must report all wages earned that week when you file your
weekly claim. 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. (See Payment
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 state tax refund you may be due will be
intercepted and applied to the overpayment in each year an overpayment
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: 785-296-0027
- Mail: UI Fraud Investigations Unit
Kansas Department of Labor
401 SW Topeka Boulevard
Topeka, KS 66603-3182