Unemployment Insurance (UI) fraud is a crime that affects everyone. The Georgia Department of Labor (GDOL) needs your help preventing UI fraud and abuse. Your participation strengthens GDOL efforts to ensure Georgia employers' tax dollars are spent wisely and UI benefits only go to eligible individuals.
GDOL offers several options to report suspected cases of unemployment benefit fraud, identity theft, job refusals and failed pre-employment drug screening tests. The preferred method to submit your report of suspected UI fraud and abuse is through our Online Reporting system. All tips received are investigated regardless of how much information is provided. However, the more details you can provide, the more you will aid in the investigation.
Commissioner's Message: Help Fight Fraud
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Individuals who knowingly collect unemployment insurance (UI) benefits based on false or inaccurate information provided by them when filing their claim or while receiving benefits, are committing fraud. UI fraud and abuse is punishable by law and violators could face a number of serious penalties and consequences.
You can prevent fraud and strengthen the integrity of the UI program by taking the following actions:
- Accurately report the reason you are unemployed
- Accurately report your reason for separation from your job when you initially file your claim for benefits. After a claim is filed, the separating/most recent employer is sent a Notice of Claim Filing and Request for Separation Information.
- Actively search for work
- You are required to conduct an active search for work for each week you claim UI benefits, unless you are notified you are exempt. You are required to make a minimum of three new verifiable job contacts each week and submit evidence of your job contacts by Internet or fax. GDOL performs random audits on claimants' work search records. Employers are contacted to verify the information provided.
- Report any wages you have earned
- You must report your gross wages (earnings before taxes and other deductions) for each week you work and claim unemployment benefits, even if you have not actually been paid for the work. This includes part-time or temporary work. GDOL utilizes a quarterly wage cross-match system. The cross-match compares benefits paid to wages reported by employers under the same social security number during the same quarter.
- Report when you are not able or available to seek or accept work
- You must be physically able and available to perform some type of work (even if it is not your regular field of work). Notify GDOL if you are not ready, willing and able to work (e.g., out of the area, on vacation, sick, suffering total disability) while collecting UI benefits.
- Report all job refusals
- If you refuse an offer of work, you must report your refusal to GDOL, who will determine if there was good cause to refuse the work.
- Avoid errors and ensure proper payment of benefits
- To prevent errors that may result in an overpayment, read all of the information in the Claimant Handbook.
- Stop claiming unemployment benefits as soon as you begin working
- As soon as you begin working, simply stop filing a weekly claim. Do not wait until you receive your first paycheck.
- Know your responsibilities and ask for help
- Navigating through the UI system can be confusing. Do not risk losing your benefits because you do not know your rights and responsibilities. If you have a question, UI customer service representatives are here to help. Call UI Customer Service at 404.232.3001 (in Metro Atlanta) or 1.877.709.8185 (in all other areas). Customer Service hours are 8:00 a.m. to 430 p.m., Monday through Friday.
You can prevent fraud and help strengthen the integrity of the UI program by taking the following actions:
- Proper Classification of Workers
- For the purpose of unemployment insurance, an employer must classify its workers as either employees or independent contractors. Employers are required to pay unemployment tax on employees' earnings but not on independent contractors. In the event a worker is misclassified as an independent contractor, taxes will not have been paid and the worker's wages will not have been reported. A wage and liability investigation of the employer would be initiated by the GDOL to determine proper classification. If misclassification is determined, the employer may be liable for payment of all back taxes, with interest and penalties.
- Issue Separation Notices (DOL-800), to all separated employees
- Georgia employers are required to issue a Separation Notice (DOL-800), to all separated employees stating in detail the reason for separation and length of employment. The notice helps ensure the information the claimant provides to GDOL regarding the last place worked and the reason for separation is accurate. The notice also guarantees GDOL has the correct employer account number and address.
- Review Quarterly Statements of Benefit Charges
- At the end of each quarter, most employers receive a copy of all UI benefits charged against their account for that quarter. Please review all benefit charges carefully. Benefit charges will affect your unemployment tax rate at a later date. If you disagree with any of the benefit charges or find any errors, you must protest the charges within 15 days of the date the notice is mailed.
- Report all new hires to the Georgia New Hire Reporting Program
- All Georgia employers are required to report their new hires within 10 days after the employee is hired, re-hired or returns to work. The New Hire Reporting Program is administered by the Georgia Department of Human Services (DHS). New Hire information is used by GDOL to identify individuals who are working and collecting UI benefits. Reporting new hires helps keep UI tax costs down by ensuring that only individuals who are eligible receive UI benefits. Become an active participant in preventing overpayment of UI benefits by reporting all of your newly hired and rehired employees on the Georgia New Hire Reporting website.
- Respond to Notice of Claim Filing and Request for Separation Information
- After a claim is filed, the separating/most recent employer is sent a Notice of Claim Filing and Request for Separation Information (DOL-1199), which lists the reason for separation given by the claimant. This notice helps prevent the filing of fraudulent claims by giving the employers the opportunity to substantiate or contest information provided by the claimant. You must respond to the department within 10 days to prevent a former employee from wrongfully receiving UI benefits. The deadline for a timely response is on the notice. For more information on how to respond to a separation request refer to the UI Employer Handbook.
- Respond to Wage Audit Notices
- Each week GDOL cross-checks wage and new hire databases with the unemployment benefit recipient database in order to identify individuals who may have improperly received unemployment benefits while being employed. When a match occurs, a Wage Audit Notice (DOL-1169) is mailed to the employer for verification of wages. Wage Audit Notices should be completed and returned within 10 days of the date the notice is mailed. Your cooperation in these audits could help reduce fraud and may assist employers to better control the charges from a claim.
- Provide accurate wage information
- Providing GDOL with accurate wage information for your workers ensures that individuals are paid the correct amount of UI benefits.
Unemployment Insurance (UI) fraud is intentionally making false statements, providing false information, or withholding information for the purpose of obtaining or increasing UI benefits. Help us ensure employers' tax dollars are spent wisely and UI benefits only go to eligible individuals.
Report someone who is:
- receiving UI benefits but not reporting they are working and being paid cash "under the table".
- receiving UI benefits and not reporting their earnings.
- receiving UI benefits at the same time they are incarcerated.
- receiving UI benefits but not able or available to seek or accept work due to illness, injury, out of town, on vacation, etc.
- receiving UI benefits but not looking for work or falsifying their work search efforts.
- receiving UI benefits but not reporting they are engaged in self-employment.
- withholding information or giving false information to GDOL.
- filing a fraudulent UI claim and/or receiving UI benefits using another person's identity (e.g., name, social security number).
- receiving UI benefits and fails to inform GDOL of a job refusal or not reporting to work after accepting an employment offer.
- receiving UI benefits and fails to inform GDOL of not passing a pre-employment Drug Screening test.
- collaborating with an employer to illegally claim unemployment insurance benefits.
When reporting fraud, please provide as many details as possible regarding the fraudulent activity such as their address, telephone number, date of birth, and the last four digits of their social security number. This information will help the GDOL better identify the person in our claim records.
You do not have to provide your name or identifying information to file a fraud allegation unless you want to. Any contact information provided remains confidential.
Print the appropriate document and fax or mail to the appropriate unit. These documents are in PDF format and require Adobe Acrobat Reader to view or print. A free software download is available from the Adobe website.
To report unemployment benefit fraud and abuse - Complete the UI Suspected Fraud and Abuse Reporting Form
To report that you suspect someone has used your Social Security Number to work, file a claim and/or receive UI benefits - Complete the UI Suspected Fraud and Identity Theft Form
To report a job refusal, failure to report to work or a failed pre-employment drug screening test - Complete the UI Job Refusal and Failed Pre-Employment Drug Screening Form
Collecting unemployment under false pretenses is a crime. The Georgia Department of Labor (GDOL) actively pursues collections of all overpayments and is committed to maintaining the integrity of the UI program. Under Georgia's Employment Security Law, individuals who knowingly make false statements, misrepresent or omit material facts, or knowingly accept benefits to which they are not entitled lose the right to future unemployment benefits for up to 15 months and are subject to criminal and civil legal actions and fines.
Individuals who commit fraud are liable for the total amount of improperly paid benefits plus penalties and interest. A penalty of 15 percent will be added to, and become part of, the overpayment amount. Interest of one percent per month (or any fraction of a month) shall accrue until the overpayment (including the penalty) is repaid. Penalty amounts will not be waived.
The GDOL is also empowered to intercept state and federal income tax refunds to recover UI overpayments.