Everyone is responsible for upholding unemployment insurance (UI) integrity. Individuals, employers and Iowa Workforce Development (IWD) staff are expected to act honestly and in good faith. Integrity helps IWD prevent errors, fraud and abuse by those who do not follow the UI rules.
Unemployment Insurance Fraud
Fraud is knowingly providing false information or withholding information to receive UI benefits. Fraudulently collecting UI benefits is a serious offense. It can lead to severe penalties, which include:
- criminal prosecution, fines and imprisonment
- denial of future benefits by administrative penalty
- repayment of fraudulently collected UI benefits, plus a 15 percent penalty and daily interest
- wage garnishments and liens
- interception of state and federal tax refunds
IWD uses automatic wage cross match programs, claim audits and additional investigative tools to detect fraud. IWD also compares state and federal new hire reports to UI claims to ensure that individuals who have returned to work full-time are no longer collecting benefits and individuals who are working part-time are reporting correct earnings. Claim audits are also conducted to confirm work searches were completed for each employer listed on the work search record.
In addition, IWD has partnered with the Social Security Administration (SSA) in a program that verifies the identity of an individual who has applied for UI benefits. The claimant’s full legal name, Social Security Number, date of birth, and gender are cross-matched against the records of the SSA prior to any benefits being paid.
Individuals who have received UI benefits fraudulently, and have outstanding fraud debt including penalty, interest and lien fees, are ineligible to receive UI benefits until the full amount of the debt is paid. Individuals cannot use weekly benefit payments to offset fraud debt.
If an individual thinks they may have mistakenly reported incorrect information, they should contact IWD to correct the situation before an investigation begins.
Quality Control Reviews
To ensure your UI account is being charged correctly, IWD randomly selects UI claims and benefit decisions each week for review to determine if benefits were accurately paid or denied. Selected individuals are required to participate in the review as a condition of continuing eligibility for UI benefits. A Notice of Selection, containing the date and time of the telephone interview with an auditor, is mailed prior to the review. Individuals will receive a questionnaire for completion prior to the telephone interview. Individuals must have a record of their work searches made for the week under review, as the auditor will verify the work search with the employer(s). Refusal to cooperate with the auditor will result in a denial of UI benefits.