Syracuse, New York – Following a New York State Department of Labor (DOL) investigation that revealed insurance fraud was responsible for more than $11 million in benefits payments in August, Governor Kathy Hochul of New York State announced measures on Monday to combat unemployment insurance fraud.
The governor said that these benefits were given to people who were working and receiving unemployment insurance during the outbreak.
As a result of the DOL’s inquiry, Governor Hochul declared that the state will pursue restitution for erroneous benefits payments and report nonpayment to local criminal enforcement.
In 2022, the DOL’s Office of Special Investigations anticipates finding $110 million in benefits that were obtained unlawfully.
“At the height of the pandemic, when our state experienced an unprecedented unemployment crisis, these fraudulent unemployment insurance claims took resources away from New Yorkers who needed them most,” said Gov. Hochul. “My administration is taking action to step up our investigations of unemployment insurance fraud, hold those who take advantage of the system accountable, and protect this crucial benefit for New Yorkers in need.”
The DOL’s improved fraud detection system, which simplifies record requests to employers to validate dates of employment and enables inspectors to analyze cases more quickly, was used to identify the bogus payments.
The governor claims that if the system notices a false payment, the claimant gets a chance to explain the inconsistency.
After an interview, the DOL will take action to ensure that the benefits are returned if it is discovered that the claimant had a job while receiving benefits.
This involves creating payback schedules, seizing state and federal tax refunds, and, if necessary, reporting nonpayment cases to local, state, or federal law enforcement agencies.