The U.S. Department of Labor has announced a new online tool for state use in combating unemployment insurance (UI) fraud and preventing improper UI payments. Acting as a public fraud reporting portal, the Fraud Tips and Leads Gateway offers an aggressive means for states to investigate fraud leads and to prosecute abusers. In conjunction with the release of the tool, the DOL is also publishing consumer materials that emphasize common mistakes claimants make when applying for and receiving UI payments.
The department is also rolling out a social media plan where UI claimants can receive tips about finding jobs, properly using the UI system, and utilizing local One-Stop Career Centers. The DOL announced in September 2011 that it was granting nearly $200 million to kick start a waste-cutting plan to improve the efficiency of the UI system. These new resources and increased effort are aimed at helping states diminish the rising rates of improper UI payments and individual abuse of the UI system.
Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis said,”Reducing improper Unemployment Insurance payments is crucial to maintaining the integrity of this vital lifeline for millions of American families, and we each have a role to play,” she continued, “Too many people don’t know their responsibilities under the program, and too many businesses don’t know what’s at stake for them, especially the tax implications. The tools announced today will help educate consumers and businesses, and ultimately improve the UI system.”