Indiana works to stem unemployment fraud


It is a tough position to be in. The state wants to give unemployment benefits to those who need it, but what about those who don't?

New requirements will go into effect next month to try to stem the rising tide of unemployment fraud in Indiana.

The State of Indiana has some work to do. The fraud rate for unemployment insurance benefits in the Hoosier State has more than doubled in the last three years, from two percent in 2010 to 4.27 percent in 2012.

So the state is making some changes. Anthony Allseitz was leaving the WorkOne office on Shadeland when he mentioned that he had just become aware of the new law.

"After four weeks, they told me I had to go to this employment eligibility employment service," he said.

Joe Frank works in public information for the Department of Workforce Development, which administers unemployment in Indiana.

"We really are just trying to get folks in as soon as possible when they are unemployed to get them services they need to get back in the workforce as quickly as possible," he observed.

Allseitz says the new policy is fine, but "I'd rather be out finding a job then coming here and taking a class or whatever."

When unemployment recipients show up in October, after four weeks, they will have to show a photo ID. It is all part of the process to cut down on fraud and with good reason. According to the United States Department of Labor, Indiana is one of the worst 16 states in America when it comes to unemployment insurance overpayment, at over $31 million from 2010-2011. The state has recouped almost $21 million of that.

Edward Hall is another Hoosier currently receiving unemployment.

"I don't really go through them and look for jobs. I look for jobs on my own," he said.

Hall knows he has to check in at a WorkOne office from time to time to continue getting unemployment, but says "their process is slow. I am trying to get a new job now. I ain't trying to wait two or three weeks, a month. That is why I go online and do it myself."

Eyewitness News also talked to LaDonna Hines outside the same WorkOne office. She believes the earlier intervention might help her husband find a job.

"I see it as a good thing. It gives you more time to find a job. If you go in more often, you can see what jobs are out there. Otherwise, you might not come in until every six weeks. I think this change is for the good," she said.

Unemployed Hoosiers can start looking in their mailboxes for notices that WorkOne will start sending out in the next month.