Other Work Issues Article


Are You a Victim of Identity Theft Seeking Unemployment Insurance Benefits?

WORK-LIFE LAW AND POLICY CLINIC

www.law.asu.edu/worklifeclinic

(480) 727-2382

ARE YOU A VICTIM OF IDENTITY THEFT SEEKING UNEMPLOYMENT INSURANCE BENEFITS?

 Social security numbers are used by the Arizona Department of Economic Security (“DES”) to process applications for unemployment insurance benefits. As a result, a victim of identity theft may run into problems in the unemployment insurance benefits process because of the fraudulent actions of an identity thief.

When Might Being a Victim of Identity Theft Be an Issue?

There are three phases in the unemployment insurance benefits process where an identity theft victim may run into trouble as a result of that identity theft:

PHASE 1. ELIGIBILITY DES

A Claimant that receives a determination of deputy that he or she is ineligible for benefits only has 15 days to appeal the determination and may not know that his or her identity has been stolen in that time. For more information about eligibility, see Know Your Rights: Eligibility for Unemployment Insurance. DES may find that an identity theft victim is not eligible for benefits. A.R.S. § 23-771. An individual with a compromised social security number may have difficulty demonstrating that he or she is able to work, and [be] available for work” to receive benefits. A Claimant that receives a determination of deputy that he or she is ineligible for benefits only has 15 days to appeal the determination and may not know that his or her identity has been stolen in that time. For more information about eligibility, see Know Your Rights: Eligibility for Unemployment Insurance.


PHASE 2. OVERPAYMENT CLASSIFICATION

An identity theft victim may be asked to repay money that was paid to an identity thief who was using the victim’s social security number. An overpayment exists when a claimant receives unemployment benefits to which he or she is not entitled. DES has the right to collect any overpaid benefits. A.R.S. § 23-787. If an identity thief uses the victim’s social security number to claim benefits while the victim is employed, DES may incorrectly believe that the victim received benefits to which he or she was not entitled. This means the victim of identity theft may be asked to repay benefits he or she never received.

Additionally, an identity theft victim’s overpayment may be classified as fraud when an identity thief uses the victim’s social security number to work. Fraud is a type of overpayment classification that comes with an automatic penalty of 15 percent of the amount of overpayment, a potential felony conviction, and other consequences. See A.R.S. §§ 23-785; 23- 787(B). A fraud determination occurs when a claimant knowingly misrepresents or conceals material facts to obtain benefits to which the claimant is not lawfully entitled. A.A.C. R6-3- 1301(7). The fraud determination is tied to the social security number provided to DES, which means that the identity thief may cause the fraud determination. This could happen if the thief claims benefits while the victim is working or if the victim applies for benefits while the thief is using the stolen social security number. For more information about overpayment or fraud classification, see Know Your Rights: Overpayment of Unemployment Insurance Benefits.

PHASE 3. WAIVER

 An identity theft victim may need to request a waiver of overpaid benefits if the victim never received the benefits due to identity theft. To be eligible for a waiver, a claimant must have received the overpaid unemployment benefits through no fault of his or her own and it must be against “equity and good conscience” to collect from the claimant. A.R.S. § 23-787(c). Therefore, if, due to identity theft, a claimant never received the benefits for which DES is seeking repayment, he or she may be eligible for a waiver and may seek a waiver. For more information about waiver and how to seek one, see Know Your Rights: Waiver of Overpayment of Unemployment Insurance Benefits.

Tips for Identity Theft Victims

The first step, if you are worried about an adverse determination from DES due to identity theft, is to inform the DES deputy assigned to your case that you are a victim of identity theft.

If the deputy ignores your status as an identity theft victim and you receive an adverse determination from DES, you may appeal that determination. When you appeal a determination, you will have the opportunity to offer evidence to an Administrative Law Judge (“ALJ”) about the underlying issues. Because ALJ’s must consider all relevant evidence, you may:

 1. Submit evidence to DES before the hearing that demonstrates you are a victim of identity theft. The following documents might help demonstrate that you are a victim: – An Identity Theft Affidavit from the Federal Trade Commission. A victim of identity theft may contact the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to create an Identity Theft Report by completing an online Identity Theft Affidavit,1 and taking it a police station, or by calling the Identity Theft Hotline at (877) 438-4338.2 – A Police Report. Once you report identity theft to the police, you may ask for a copy of the police report for your records.

2. Inform the ALJ that you were a victim of identity theft and why that matters. – Explain to the ALJ how the identity theft has affected you in the phase of the unemployment benefits process that you are in, as discussed above.

3. Consult with an attorney if you need legal advice. – You may contact the Work-Life Law and Policy Clinic for further information about unemployment insurance at (480) 727-2382 or seek a referral at http://www.AZLawHelp.org.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Contributing Attorney: Marcy Karin is the Faculty Supervisor of the Work-Life Law and Policy Clinic at Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law at ASU.

Prepared by Zachary Rosenberg, Kyle Orne & Laura Anderson, Certified Limited Practice.

Last updated April 8, 2015.

1 Federal Trade Commission: Consumer Information Page, Create an Identity Theft Report. https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0277-create-identity-theft-report.

2 Other steps to consider include: (1) submitting an identity theft affidavit with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) at http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/f14039.pdf; (2) filing a Consumer Complaint Form with the Arizona Attorney General’s Office at https://www.azag.gov/complaints/consumer; (3) obtaining a free credit report at https://www.annualcreditreport.com to see if the identity theft has impacted your credit in other ways; and (4) placing a free “active duty alert” on your credit reports if appropriate by contacting one of the nationwide consumerreporting companies: Equifax: (800) 525-6285 or www.equifax.com; Experian: (888) 397-3742 or www.experian.com; or TransUnion: (800) 680-7289 or www.transunion.com.

 

Attached Document
.pdf Are You a Victim of Identity Theft Seeking Unemployment Insurance Benefits?


Comments:

QUESTIONS

  • I was hurt by a coworker on sep 29 2012 boss begged me not to file as he put it I was just bruised 3 people heard and saw that comment and that a false claim would rase his rates . the pain got so bad I used my own ins and within months had multiple surgerys 8 within the year of acc he never claimed me knowing I was having all these surgerys due to his coworkers fault I feel my mental and phys played a role in this as 4 months before we had a house fire no ins that left us homeless raising 3 kids that are not mine with no gov help also dealing with mental issues seein the docs for that to help
  • My ex boss and I had a disagreement about a verification issue through email. She was very rude and disrespectful. The following morning my husband who is her current employee called me to tell me that she cc'd him in his email the conversation. Is this a privacy breech? Although, he is my husband, he is a current employee and I am not. This is second time this has happened. The first time with a different employee. Do I have any legal rights here?
  • I quit my employer after 12 years employment. After i changed states I reapplied and was told that I was Blacked Balled from applying because of attendance. Is there anything i can do?
  • What are the rights of workers, through a temp agency, in Arizona?
  • I am wondering if it is considered fraud for an employer to claim we would be interviewed via phone by an impartial party then turn around and hire someone outside the company without ever interviewing the internal applicants?
  • I need to take medicine 3 times while at work, can they tell me i can't go to my car to take it
  • I work for a car dealership and the store I work in the General Manager will take away our days off if we have a off site sale that week so we are forced to work 8am-8pm all week with no days off. is this legal? also can he take a day off away from us if we sell less than a certain amount of cars in a month? what is the law about days off?
  • Question-once a work schedule of an employee has been posted can the employer make changes to the schedule w/o consulting the employee, and if employee can not accommodate the change can the employer retaliate with disciplinary action.
  • I made a 98.00 mistake on the register can the owner make me pay for it.
  • We live in an RV resort, own a park model. We have a business license to do yard work and have been doing well here in the park helping older people that cannot do what we do. We work on the weekends, but the park is considering prohibiting working on Sunday. Can they do this according to AZ law. They have also issued a ruling that people who work for the park cannot do side jobs in the park at all, even on their own time and with their own equipment. Is this legal?

STORIES

LegalLEARN

YOUR FEEDBACK IS NEEDED

FIND LEGAL HELP

  • Please select your county of residence below.

    County:
     

OTHER LEGAL RESOURCES

  • State Bar of Arizona
    www.azbar.org
  • Maricopa County Bar
    www.maricopabar.org
    Referral number 602-257-4434
  • Pima County Bar
    www.pimacountybar.org
    Referral number 520-623-4625
  • National Domestic Violence Hotline
    800-799-7233
  • Bankruptcy Court Self Help Center
    866-553-0893
  • Certified Legal Document Preparer Program
    Link

ORGANIZATIONS