New steps in place for unemployment insurance

State labor officials are stepping up to prevent fraud or misuse of Alaska’s unemployment insurance program, which is now dealing with thousands of applicants impacted by the economic fallout of the novel coronavirus pandemic.

Labor Commissioner Tamika Ledbetter this week said the agency will vigorously pursue all fraudulent activities to the fullest extent of the law.

This includes any individual who commits fraud by knowingly submitting false information, knowingly continuing to collect benefits when ineligible, intentionally collecting benefits without reporting income or not reporting when suitable work is refused.

An individual who refuses a job because unemployment insurance pays more than their weekly wage, asks to be laid off, asks to have their hours reduced or quits work to get unemployment benefits may be committing fraud, the agency said.

Employers may send information regarding such activities via email to uifraud@alaska.gov or fax the information to 907-375-9520.

Anyone found guilty of such activities will be ineligible for any additional benefit payments, must re-pay the benefits received and is subject to criminal prosecution, labor officials said.