What is Unemployment Insurance Fraud
Did You Know?
Collecting Unemployment Insurance (UI) benefits based on providing false, misreported, or unreported information to the Employment Development Department (EDD) is considered committing UI fraud. If you are filing a claim, reopening a claim, or certifying for UI benefits, you are legally responsible for making sure you follow the requirements set by state law. You could face a number of serious penalties and consequences for committing UI fraud.
Examples of UI fraud could include:
- You return to work but continue to collect UI benefits without reporting the work and wages.
- You do not report wages during the week that the work was performed.
- You work a part-time job but do not report your earnings, so you are collecting more benefits than you are allowed.
- You perform temporary work while collecting UI benefits, but do not report these earnings when certifying for benefits.
- You withhold information or give false information when filing a UI claim or certifying for benefits.
If you commit UI fraud, then you could face a variety of serious penalties. These include:
- Prosecution by government authorities
- Possible jail or prison sentences
- Repaying the UI benefits collected, plus penalties and fines
- Forfeiting future income tax refunds
- Losing the eligibility to collect UI benefits in the future
How to Avoid Committing UI Fraud When Collecting Benefits
To avoid penalties for committing UI fraud:
- Report your gross wages. Gross wages are all earnings or income before deductions.
- Report wages during the actual week when you worked and earned the wages—NOT when you receive your pay.
- Report all work for which you will receive wages. This includes self-employment.
- Keep a record of the work and wages earned for each day if your payroll weeks are different than the weeks on the Continued Claim Form (DE 4581). The certification week(s) on the DE 4581 always start on a Sunday and end on a Saturday, so keeping a record of daily work and wages will assist you in correctly reporting work and wages under the appropriate week(s).
If you think you may have unintentionally committed UI fraud, contact the EDD immediately by phone, by mail, or online. For more information on UI fraud prevention and how to properly report work and wages, visit:
- FAQs – Reporting Work and Wages
- How to Report Work and Wages
- Step-by-Step Guide: How to Certify for Ongoing Unemployment Benefits (DE 1275C)
- Unemployment Insurance Benefits: What You Need to Know (DE 1275B)
- A Guide to Benefits and Employment Services (DE 1275A)
- Certifying for Unemployment Insurance (UI) Benefits
- Understanding the Continued Claim Certification Questions