Hawaii’s Department of Labor and Industrial Relations has been awarded $1.2 million to combat fraud and identify theft related to enhanced federal unemployment insurance benefits.
The funding from the U.S. Department of Labor is to go toward the costs of bolstering identify verification requirements for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) and Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) programs.
The PUA program provides jobless benefits to workers that ordinarily wouldn’t qualify for unemployment insurance, including out-of-work independent contractors, the self-employed and gig workers. The PEUC program provides up to 13 weeks of benefits to individuals who have exhausted their regular unemployment benefits.
The federal funds were awarded to the first 28 states and territories to apply.
“We quickly acted to obtain this funding as our teams are battling UI fraud on all fronts as we continue to build out the many new programs implemented by Congress last year, particularly the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program,” said Anne Perreira-Eustaquio, director of the state Department of Labor and Industrial Relations, in a press release. “We are asking Hawaii residents to be vigilant of their credit information and help us combat the fraudsters who are unlawfully taking funds from the UI program. This is a critical issue that is plaguing labor departments across the United States involving local, state, and even international criminals at times.”
Hawaii residents can report imposter claims by call the Hawaii Department of Labor and Industrial Relations at 808-762-5751 or 808)-762-5752 and choosing option #4.
More detailed information about fraud related to unemployment insurance can be found here: https://labor.hawaii.gov/blog/main/unemployment-insurance-assistance-fraud-info/