The Arkansas state legislature recently passed an unemployment insurance program benefits bill to regulate such benefits and prohibit certain individuals from collecting unemployment insurance. Specifically, the Act prohibits an individual who commits fraud to collect or increase the amount of unemployment insurance program benefits paid to him or her from being eligible for unemployment insurance program benefits for a period of 10 years.
Recent findings from the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) show substantial levels of fraud and potential fraud in employee unemployment insurance programs during the COVID-19 pandemic, suggesting that the Department of Labor and state unemployment insurance programs were not adequately prepared to handle fraud risks when the pandemic began.
Similar to its Arkansas counterpart, the Arizona state legislature has introduced a bill that would establish a fraud unit for the purpose of investigating fraudulent activities, statements, or representations made in connection with workers’ compensation claims.
Whether these bills signal for more sweeping changes in the ways states approach fraud in unemployment insurance and workers’ compensation claims remains to be seen.
For more information on employment benefits-related fraud, click here to access the Arkansas Division of Workforce Services, and here for Arizona’s Department of Economic Security.