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Investigation to Validate Gross Earnings While Receiving Benefits

by Erin

My full time position was eliminated at the end of August and I was approved for unemployment. In the middle of October a former professor recommended me as an undergraduate tutor at the university I attend for no more than 10 hours a week. (On an aside, PA is one of the few states that doesn't exclude students from receive UC, as long as they can reasonably expect to find a job in the local labor market, and I noted that I was a student on my initial claim.) I thought I'd be able to make a few extra dollars while looking for full time work, and also didn't want to turn down suitable, available work that was offered to me. I filled out all the new hire paperwork (W-2, etc).

Unfortunately, the subject that I was offered the tutoring position for was relatively obscure at that university (Anthropology/Sociology) and the few students that I was given to work with all declined needing help at that point or never responded to contact requests (I followed protocol by reporting those to the tutoring office and this is documented). Because tutors only work if there are students who need help, I never actually met with any students or submitted hours for pay EVER.

At the end of November I received a letter from unemployment stating that I had filed for unemployment after returning to work and that they would contact my employer (the university) to validate gross earnings to see if my unemployment claim was effected and reminding me that not reporting gross earnings was fraud. (I knew this before, and had I earned even $5.00 from tutoring I would have reported it.) However, I never submitted any hours or earned ANY money, although I am employed by the university and could potentially be assigned a student at any time, at which point I would report earnings.

I never thought that I was ineligible for unemployment, as I was able and available to work if I was assigned a student to work with and
was also looking for additional work. I filed my claims reporting that I was able and available, did not turn down work, but did not work or receive compensation of any kind.

I assume that submitting new hire paperwork triggered the investigation, and the fact that I never reported any hours or received any compensation from the university means that the investigation will turn up nothing suspicious, but I was just wondering if you had any thoughts on this, since your site is so helpful and you have so much information on unemployment benefits. I tried very hard to understand all of the laws regarding benefits BEFORE I filed, especially because I am a student, and I'm hoping that I didn't misunderstand something and unintentionally collected benefits that I shouldn't have. Any thoughts would be appreciated!

Hi Erin,

I think you explained very well, what I too believe, triggered the investigation. Many states have stepped up their fraud detection efforts with the advent of the national new hire directory which I presumes, serves as a clearinghouse for all states new hire reporting data in an effort to detect interstate fraud.

If you've had no earnings thus far, there should be no need for you to worry since I'm sure the school will confirm it.

Additionally, with regard to your aside, there are a number of states that do allow a person/student to collect while attending school as long as the class schedule doesn't restrict A&A for suitable work or the claimant says they will quit school if it interferes with accepting suitable work.

However, to avoid anyone confusing anyone that lands on this page with another student/employee issue, I'd like to draw a distinction between the typical A&A issue and that of an invalid claim based on work performed by a student or their spouse for a school.

and learn some Sometimes work performed for schools is excluded from coverage under the FUTA and it was a frequent reason for reimbursing school entities to appeal what would otherwise be valid claims.

See Table 1/6

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