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That’s why the SC Department of Employment and Workforce (DEW) recently launched an initiative to reduce fraud and overpayments. But we also need your help to ensure this project’s success.
First, let us offer a little background. Nationally, UI improper payments increased during the recession. In 2010, American employers faced an estimated $6.86 billion in additional costs due to improper benefits payments.
This sometimes happens as a result of fraud and other times because of inaccurate or insufficient information that is necessary to determine a claimant’s eligibility.
DEW is tackling the fraud issue through a variety of methods. One is a partnership with the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Inspector General (OIG) and the SC Attorney General’s Office to investigate and prosecute more UI overpayment cases in both state and federal courts.
DEW, via the Attorney General’s Office, has contacted 180 individuals who have obtained $10,000 or more in fraudulent overpayments to alert them to potential criminal prosecution. The recovery amount for those individuals totals an estimated amount of $2.5 million, and many more are being contacted every day. OIG is also working cases that could total an additional estimated $1 million, and there are pending indictments.
We have also implemented better detection of fraud and non-fraud overpayments through the Benefits Audit Reporting and Tracking System. This software system cross-matches wage data reported by employers with unemployment data submitted by claimants to find potential conflicts. The system automatically sends requests for information to claimants and employers to determine if true overpayments have occurred.
This is where you as business owners come in. We need your help in responding to those requests for information. You can actively improve payment accuracy and keep your costs down by taking three easy steps:
For more information and to report suspected fraud via online forms, visit www.dew.sc.gov/fraud.
You also can report suspected fraud by contacting DEW by phone at 803.737.2490; fax at 803.737.0422; or mail at DEW, Attn: Benefit Payment Control, P.O. Box 995, Columbia, SC 29202.