WASHINGTON, DC –The U.S. Department of Labor’s Employment and Training Administration today announced the issuance of an Unemployment Insurance Program Letter that provides new guidance to states on identity verification for unemployment insurance claims.
The guidance follows unprecedented increases in UI claims amid the pandemic and related surges in fraudulent filings in states’ systems by sophisticated criminal rings using stolen or “synthetic” identities – false identities composed of real and fake information. It provides states with guidance about adjudication standards to apply when determining UI eligibility in cases where an individual’s identity appears questionable.
This guidance will help states find and stop payments on claims based on stolen or fake identities and help unemployed workers who have been falsely flagged as possibly fraudulent. The guidance also explains what states can do to protect those victims who may have had their identities previously stolen and then used by criminals to apply for unemployment insurance benefits.
“Criminals using false and stolen identities to file for benefits cause widespread problems – both for the people who unknowingly had claims filed in their name and for legitimately unemployed Americans – is a growing problem for many state unemployment insurance programs,” said Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Employment and Training Suzi LeVine. “The U.S. Department of Labor issued this guidance to help states fight this problem in their unemployment insurance programs and make sure American workers receive the benefits to which they are rightly entitled.”
In addition to its guidance to states to prevent UI fraud, the department recently launched a website to assist people who are victims of UI identity theft. The website enables individuals to report ID theft and to find helpful information if their identities have been stolen.
The unemployment insurance program is a federal-state partnership, with states responsible for accepting, processing, and paying claims. Please direct all eligibility questions to state employment agencies.