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Unemployment Fraud?

Syracuse, NY |

I was incarcerated for 27 days, I was getting unemployment from NYS, when I was released I called unemployment to certify benefits. They would only go back a couple of weeks so the lady asked me a few questions to certify then told me to go online after 8pm to claim for the following week , then she says they know i was incarcerated and put me on hold and I got disconnected so I didnt wait until 8 I did it right away then called back. They said I couldnt collect unemployment while i was in jail. So I waited until Sunday to claim benefits again because I wasnt in jail for that week. I checked today and my payment wasnt released so I called again. They said I had call a Dept of labor investigator and speak to them and show them proof of when I was released from jail. I keep calling the number but it goes right to voice mail and nobody is calling me back, and its a fraud investigator. I didnt receive any money while I was in jail though but Im scared that I might get in trouble, I was searching the internet for answers but cant find any. Im scared to death. Could I be charged with a crime if I didnt receive any money and didnt know I couldnt attempt to collect while i was in jail, which the lady should have checked before she certified the benefits for me and told me to do it again later?

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Attorney answers 3

Posted

If you are honest and upfront with the DOL, I do not think anyone will accuse you of fraud, but you should make sure you document communications, so that you have proof that you are not seeking benefits for the period of time that you were incarcerated.

This answer does not constitute legal advice and you should contact an attorney to confirm or research further any statements made in this answer. Any statements of fact or law I have made in this answer pertain solely to New York State and should not be relied upon in any way in any other jurisdiction. Additionally, we also encourage you to reach out to us via Twitter (https://twitter.com/#!/employattorney) or Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/WhiteRicottaandMarks) if you have follow up questions as we do not monitor questions after providing an initial answer.

Asker

Posted

the problem with that is they did try and claim benefits while i was in jail for 2 weeks and didnt ask me if i was in jail so after they put the info in, thats when they found out that i was in jail

Thomas A. Ricotta

Thomas A. Ricotta

Posted

Your best bet is to be honest and up front about the situation, but to document everything so you have records that you are not presently trying to commit fraud.

Asker

Posted

Ok thank you.

Posted

As far as I understand your question, I would say it only matters what you say when you call in each week. If you don't call in, you don't get paid. If you call in while in jail, you need to say that you were not available or looking for work.

Asker

Posted

I called after I got out of jail, and the lady on the phone certified for benefits for a week while i was in jail because she didnt ask if i was in jail and when she found out i was it was to late she already put in the info and couldnt take it back

Arthur H. Forman

Arthur H. Forman

Posted

No need to contact them. They will contact you if they want an explanation. Request a hearing (appeal) if they decide to turn you down.

Asker

Posted

I had to contact them because I had a valid claim and was getting benefits before I went to jail. They wont release the payment after I got out and said I had to contact an investigator to continue my benefits.

Posted

As long as you didn't collect for any of the period of your incarceration, it would seem that you should be okay.