ATLANTA - Georgians are returning to work. It’s been the trend, according to the Georgia Department of Labor, for about five months now. But officials are also seeing a trend that looks, on paper anyway, like fraud.
If you are collecting unemployment, but also working a bit now, too, you have a responsibility to report those earnings weekly to the Labor Department. It’s called certifying. You must go in each week and update your wages. Sure it could slip your mind, but it’s become a problem.
According to Labor Commissioner Mark Butler: "It is critical that employees report these wages to us to avoid overpayments and potential legal action." Yes, legal action. You see every quarter businesses report to the Labor Department wages then that's cross-matched to make sure you have reported it too.
If you are overpaid in unemployment benefits because you also are earning money, the state puts that information into one of two categories: unintentional and fraud.
"We are now having to address potential fraud on a phenomenal scale due to some claimants failing to disclose wages and additional work history," Butler said.
Surely most people are just forgetting to do it. But remember, if you have been overpaid you will have to repay that money down the road. And with every case that is flagged, an investigation starts which gums up an already over-taxed system.
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