INDIANAPOLIS — The Indiana Department of Workforce Development said it is facing rampant unemployment insurance fraud. The state said the fraud is, in many cases, leading to delays in Pandemic Unemployment Assistance and Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Assistance Compensation.
Fred Payne, the DWD commissioner, said Wednesday their commitment is to make sure every eligible Hoosier receives receives the benefits their entitled to.
Payne said that making sure that happens has meant facing sophisticated fraudsters on a series of fronts. He said fraudsters are stealing or buying personal information to file a claim. He also said the state is facing fraudulent claims and so are the vendors helping verify identities of claimants.
"Our unemployment insurance system across the nation, Indiana’s included, we’ve become targets of fraudsters and scammers," Payne said. "These criminals are chameleons. They change their look frequently and they take many forms."
The state said that only 60 percent of individuals trying to claim unemployment insurance benefits actually take the steps to verify their identity. Of the 60 percent that did attempt to verify their identity, the state said 23 percent were identified as fraud.
When looking just at PUA claims, the state said 71 percent have fraud indicators that require additional investigation.
"This means about three out of every four PUA claims require some sort of additional processing which could cause those claims to go well beyond 21 days of processing," Payne said.
The state has already paid 77,000 individual claimants in the unemployment insurance programs just since the start of 2021. The payments totaled $125 million.