Unemployment is considered to be one of the many issues across the country and even here in our state, but while there is assistance to help in between landing another job, some people may take advantage.
Unemployment Fraud has raised concerns in our communities and consequences could follow.
Job Service North Dakota Communications Officer Sarah Arntson said, “There are approximately 16,000 job openings throughout North Dakota in a wide variety of industries and skill levels and we have just about 20,000 people actively claiming unemployment right now.”
Arntson says in order to claim unemployment there is a specific criteria to follow.
“A part of that is certifying saying how many hours they’ve worked and saying if they’ve done any job contacts. They’re required to do three job contacts a week,” she said.
She says each individual is given the benefit to truthfully hold up their end to claim benefits, but an issue that has made its way to the forefront has raised suspicion of fraudulent claimers.
“We have a good number of positions open that we’re trying to fill,” NW Tire Williston Store Manager Cody Stieg said.
Stieg says those positions aren’t being filled though.
One big reason is due to “no shows.”
“We call and schedule interviews and candidates don’t show up for who knows the number of reasons why they may not,” Stieg said.
He says this trend affects both time and money for his and so many other businesses.
“It certainly makes things stressful,” he said.
“There has not been direct correlation between these no shows and people on unemployment, but it is a complaint that we hear quite often from employers,” Arnston said,
If those claiming unemployment are caught, then the consequences are likely to follow.
“If people are receiving unemployment and are not reaching out to make those job contacts in good faith, or if they are attached to a job and their employer calls them back and they actively do not respond, then that is fraud and they may lose benefits or have to repay benefits based on how long that has been happening,” Arnston said.
While this isn’t something that Arnston says happens frequently, it is still a big issue and an issue they plan to shed light on.
Arnston says Job Services created an online portal last week for businesses to report no-shows, but it is completely voluntary.
She says if you suspect unemployment fraud to reach out to them as well as report it.