Unexpectedly losing a job can be an emotionally as well as financially devastating experience, particularly when an individual has a family to support. In Florida, employees who suddenly find themselves out of work may be eligible for weekly government assistance if their employer pays reemployment insurance taxes.

Those who apply for assistance must meet certain basic requirements, including being able and available for work opportunities and having sufficient wage and employment history.  Additionally, applicants must renew their benefits claim each week to receive aid. Injured employees must realize that they must submit a full and honest report of any earnings that they receive while accepting reemployment insurance payments to avoid a charge of fraud.

Reemployment insurance fraud penalties in Florida

Failing to provide truthful information when applying for or renewing a claim constitutes insurance fraud and may have severe consequences. In addition to program disqualification and forced repayment of funds with a 15% penalty, Florida law considers this type of fraud a third-degree felony punishable with up to five years imprisonment and a fine of up to $5,000.

Accurately reporting weekly income

Individuals who receive assistance must report absolutely all earned income on their weekly claim renewal. Even if an applicant is actively seeking full-time work, he or she must disclose any income from a temporary or part-time position. This also applies to income earned through cash jobs, commissions, tips, contract work or worker’s compensation payments.

Other forms of reemployment insurance fraud

In addition to providing accurate information about earned income, injured employees who receive reemployment payments must give a full and truthful report about her or his job search and ability to work. Failing to notify the program of job refusals, misrepresenting the reason for losing a position or accepting funds during a period when the person cannot work due to injury, illness or travel may also constitute fraud.