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NCDES Fraud – How to Protect Yourself and Your Employees

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Several employers have reported fraudulent practices by workers seeking employment through the NCDES. Among these are overpayments and failure to keep a record of the work search. The following article discusses how employers can protect themselves from fraud and overpayments.

Overpayments

During the COVID-19 pandemic, NCDES received an unprecedented number of claims. This increased the chances of errors and misrepresentation. In addition to the overpayments, PUA recipients face four and five-figure collection demands from the state. This could lead to a new round of despair for the overpaid.

The NC Division of Employment Security catches overpayments by cross-matching quarterly with employers. If fraud is suspected, the agency will notify the claimant. They also have the right to appeal the overpayment or ask for a waiver. If the claimant is denied, they can request legal counsel.

Seth Cohen, an attorney at the Dueterman Law Group in Greensboro, has seen a spike in calls from Triad residents asking about overpayments. He says he gets calls every day about people receiving overpayment notices. He said many of the overpayments aren’t the result of intentional mistakes. Instead, most of them are errors made by people filing their claims.

Fraud

During the first half of 2019, the North Carolina Division of Employment Security (DES) recovered $20.5 million in overpaid benefits. While the actual number is somewhat elusive, a DES spokesperson cites several overpayment cases during the last four months of the year. In addition, several oversight committee members have received calls from constituents with questions or concerns regarding repayment.

The DES did not announce the figure on the record but mentioned that they plan to do so soon. According to the report, the agency plans to notify eligible claimants of overpayments, offer payment plans, and take legal action to recover the overpayments. It is also a good idea to file a report with the agency if you receive any correspondence about your unemployment benefits.

Keeping a work search record

Keeping a work search record for NCdes is a must if you want to get back into the workforce. It would be best if you owned a detailed description of your search activities to show the Department of Employment and Social Services (DES) that you are doing what you can to find a new job. You should keep this information for at least five years.

The NCWorks program provides a work search guide that will help you find the most appropriate re-employment activity. You will also be provided with a blank work search record form. These documents are necessary if you want to receive unemployment benefits. The DES has a career center that will answer any re-employment-related questions. You will also need to bring your resume and a government-issued photo ID. You will be assigned a workforce specialist to provide you with a re-employment plan.

Filing a complaint

Whether you are a person seeking unemployment benefits or an employer with an unsatisfied employee, you may be able to file a complaint with the NCDES. The Department of Employment Security determines how much money an employer owes the state for unemployment taxes. In addition, if you disagree with the DES’ decision on your claim, you can appeal the decision in the North Carolina Superior Court. Finally, you can file a civil suit if you feel that the state violates your USERRA rights. The United States Department of Labor has established a Civil Rights Center to investigate complaints about the DES. You can contact the center at the address below.

Several organizations in North Carolina have filed administrative complaints against the DES over language access. These complaints allege that NCDES failed to provide LEP claimants equitable service. Among other issues, the NCDES has been unable to provide complete translations of vital documents. It also has failed to ensure that its staff is trained to provide language services. The NCDES has also failed to manage its claims process for LEP applicants adequately.