Unemployment Insurance Fraud and Consequences in Virginia

Unemployment insurance fraud in Virginia can happen when a beneficiary receives unemployment benefits due to misrepresented facts or fraudulently reported information. UI fraud is a punishable offense with penalties that range in severity. All applicants receiving unemployment benefits should be aware of the unemployment insurance fraud penalties that can occur along with the ways in which fraud can be avoided. No matter the state, fraud is illegal and will be punished according to state law. In some cases, fraud cases can result in hefty fines and even imprisonment. Knowing how to avoid fraud, as well as how to report unemployment benefits fraud in VA can help applicants make the most of their financial assistance. To find out more information regarding how to report instances of unemployment fraud and how to avoid committing fraud when filing, continue reading below.

What is Virginia unemployment insurance fraud?

Virginia unemployment benefits fraud can occur for many different reasons, some of which are through no fault of the applicant. The primary way unemployment compensation fraud is committed, however, is by fraudulently reporting information during the initial unemployment application or the weekly benefits claim. Unemployment beneficiaries should understand the penalty for unemployment fraud in VA, as well as what exactly constitutes fraud. The most common forms of fraudulent unemployment insurance filing include the following:

  • A beneficiary receiving unemployment benefits after returning to work
  • A beneficiary receiving unemployment insurance while working part-time
  • A beneficiary who fraudulently reports income on his or her weekly benefits claim
  • An applicant or beneficiary who earns an income and does not report it on any benefits claims
  • An applicant or beneficiary who purposely reports incorrect information in order to receive more benefits
  • An applicant or beneficiary who purposely withholds information to increase a benefit amount

The penalties for unemployment fraud will be implemented for all beneficiaries who refuse to follow Virginia law. Any beneficiary collecting unemployment insurance is legally responsible to abide by Virginia laws in conjunction with unemployment benefits. To find out more information regarding what is considered UI fraud in Virginia, download our helpful guide today.

What are the unemployment insurance fraud penalties in Virginia?

Penalties for unemployment insurance fraud in Virginia can range depending on the severity of the fraud. While certain types of unemployment insurance fraud can result in jail time or imprisonment, other penalties for UI fraud can result in hefty fines and denial of future benefits. The most common penalty for unemployment fraud is repayment of benefits. When a beneficiary receives overpayment of insurance benefits or any financial assistance that he or she is not entitled to through unemployment, then the repayment of benefits will be mandatory. Oftentimes, in addition to the repayment, fines and interest may be added to the total amount due. Violators will receive the option to repay the fraudulent unemployment benefits, and in some cases can have their income tax returns deducted or liens placed on personal property. VA penalties for UI benefits fraud can be quite severe, with one case in Virginia even resulting in a sentence of 57 months in prison.

How to Avoid Committing Unemployment Benefits Fraud in Virginia

A beneficiary can be committing unemployment insurance fraud in Virginia without even knowing he or she is doing so. One of the simplest ways to avoid UI fraud is for an applicant to always accurately report information to the best of his or her knowledge. Applicants should never take a chance with unemployment benefits fraud, as they run the risk of losing all future benefits. If an applicant is unaware of a required piece of information on the application or weekly claim, then contacting the Virginia Employment Commission (VEC) is advised. Applicants should never guess or fraudulently report unemployment information that they do not know to be completely true. This can include personal information, employment information and especially gross income. When reporting weekly claims, beneficiaries can avoid UI benefits fraud by including any type of income resulting from temporary employment, part-time jobs, contract work, self-employment and more. A record of all earned wages and employment should be maintained by a beneficiary in case the VEC requests documentation or proof. Avoiding VA unemployment benefits fraud can be simple as long as all information provided to the VEC is accurate and truthful.

How to Report Unemployment Insurance Fraud in Virginia

To report someone committing unemployment insurance fraud in Virginia, there are certain steps that must be taken. The VEC asks that residents understand how to report unemployment insurance fraud in order to avoid prolonged abuse of the program. There are three ways to report unemployment insurance fraud in Virginia: by mail, fax or by telephone. Reporting unemployment fraud can be anonymous if need be. In order to report unemployment benefits insurance fraud, the information necessary will include the name, address and Social Security number of the beneficiary or business suspected of the fraud, along with any dates, hours, times worked and other specificities that can further substantiate the report. Any contact information that is provided within the unemployment fraud report will remain strictly confidential with the VEC. To find out step-by-step details to report someone committing unemployment insurance fraud in VA, download our comprehensive guide today.

Virginia Employment Commission