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Claiming Tuition but not saying I began school (California)

by Anonymous
(California Unemployment and School)

I have been enrolled in school since I became unemployed, but I never checked the box that said I had started school or training (I overlooked it, thinking they would stop paying me). Is it wise to claim the tuition I paid on my taxes for 2011? I am not receiving UIB anymore, so I don't have to worry about having my benefits cut off.

Response: Claiming Tuition but not saying I began school while collecting CA unemployment benefits.

Hi Phil,

I don't know the specifics of how any state detects unemployment fraud. But my experience is that raising flags on a claim is something anyone would want to avoid like the plague.

I think wisdom would dictate that it is preferable to risk a suspension while the EDD performs their A&A eligibility investigation .. just to avoid the concern you have now.

I have looked over enough documentation used to prove fraud by a state to be more inclined to ask paranoid what ifs than most think to ask.

I assume certain items on a tax return are in fact flagged as part of any state's detection effort.

Although I'm a computer illiterate, I've imagined all it would take to detect certain types of unemployment fraud .. is to run some type of script. For instance, when a person writing off tuition is cross checked with a database of those that collected UIB's during the tax year.

Then, it would just be a matter of reviewing continuing claim forms to see if starting school was reported.

A California overpayment, can and will be offset by state tax returns according to the recovery provisions.

Withholding information by overlooking a question out of fear your benefits would be stopped would be concealment of a relevant fact regarding your ability and availability for work. This too, is found in the provisions of UI laws.

The difference between fraud and non fraud is in the recovery provisions, and in some states, the prison time associated with a fraud finding.

I don't know the precise fraud detection practices, of any state and I think .. real wisdom is more about prevention.

I think you just have to focus on damage control now and make up your mind as to whether you will raise any electronic flags.

I'd be shakin' in my boots about the 30 percent penalty imposed on OP's and even the possibility of California's minimum one year prison sentence for intentional misrepresentation of a material fact to obtain benefits .. i.e. unemployment fraud.

Question .. Did you save your work search logs for the whole time you were collecting benefits?

You'd need them to prove you were in fact actively seeking work to avoid another issue that results because of fraud .. (just in case)

PS .. Even though you only gave your first name .. I removed it

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