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Prevent Benefit Fraud

UI benefit fraud is when an individual knowingly collects unemployment insurance benefits based on false or inaccurate information that is intentionally provided when a claim is filed. UI fraud is punishable by law and violators could face a number of serious penalties and consequences.

Examples of UI fraud could include:

  • An individual returns to work but continues to collect UI benefits.
  • An individual works a part-time job but does not report their earnings to the state, thereby collecting more benefits than allowed.
  • An individual performs temporary work while collecting UI benefits but does not report the earnings when filing their weekly claim.
  • An individual holds back information or gives false information to the state UI agency.
  • An individual knowingly reporting an incorrect employer as their separating employer for the purpose of qualifying for UI benefits.
  • Making false statements that may alter or increase benefits, or
  • Withholding information that may alter or increase benefits, or
  • Failing to report work in order to obtain or increase benefits, or
  • Failing to report earnings in order to obtain or increase benefits.

What happens if UI benefit fraud is committed?

If an individual commit UI fraud, you could face a variety of serious penalties. These include:

  • Prosecution by government authorities
  • Possible jail or prison sentences
  • Repaying the UI benefits collected, plus penalties and fines
  • Forfeiting future income tax refunds
  • Losing the eligibility to collect UI benefits in the future
  • Up to five years in prison per offense
  • Up to $5,000 fine per offense

*Anyone who collects UI benefits is legally responsible for making sure the requirements set by state law are followed. Failure to follow the rules can result in serious consequences that will impact you and your family.

Overpayments

Overpayments occur when individuals commit benefit fraud. The Benefit Payment Control (BPC) Unit will make several attempts to establish a repayment plan in the event of an overpayment occurring. If the BPC Unit cannot establish the repayment plan, the agency will be authorized to collect any unemployment compensation debt from any federal income tax refund.

If you have received a Notice of Overpayment, establish a repayment plan by calling 615-741-2606. Payments may be made by check or money order and mailed to Benefit Payment Control. See information below for complete mailing address.

How can I avoid committing fraud?

Report all earnings 

Federal and state law requires that you report all earnings before taxes are deducted, including wages earned from self-employment, while claiming reemployment assistance benefits. This also includes reporting self-employment while claiming reemployment assistance benefits. ALL work and earnings must be reported in the week between Sunday and Saturday that you worked, even if you have not been paid. 

How do I report earnings correctly?

  • Keep track of the total hours you work each calendar week, Sunday through Saturday.
  • Your hourly rate of pay times the total hours worked equals your gross pay, which is the amount you must report.
  • You must report ALL earnings for the week you do the work, not the week you are paid.

 

How do I report earnings correctly?

You may report someone who is fraudulently collecting unemployment benefits by contacting Benefit Payment Control at:

Benefit Payment Control
220 French Landing Drive
Nashville, TN 37243-1002
Esadmin.fraud@tn.gov
Phone: 615-741-2606
Fax: 615-253-5331

You may give your name and number for an investigator to contact you for additional information if needed, or you may remain anonymous. Please include as much of the following information as possible:

  • Name, address, and phone number of the individual
  • Social security number
  • Where they are working (address and phone number if known)
  • Dates of employment
  • If self employed, type of business and any known customers or clients


The information will be sent to an Unemployment Benefit Auditor who will review the information given as well as contacting the current employer. If it appears that an overpayment may exist, the claimant will be called in for a hearing regarding a possible overpayment.