Newsletter - February 7, 2021
While other states have seen a steady decline in unemployment claims, Kansas claims have continued to spike. The latest weekly data from the U.S. Department of Labor (USDOL) indicates Kansas had the second highest number of unemployment claims in the nation, despite accounting for less than 1% of the nation’s population. This contrast to national trends shows just how serious the fraud problem is for Kansas.
For months, the USDOL has warned states about the need to take protective measures to prevent widespread fraud. The Legislature and Kansas employers have also been sounding the alarm since last year, urging Governor Kelly to get the state’s unemployment system in check.
This week, to address the long-term impact of this fraud, the House took the following action.
First, the House Appropriations Committee held a hearing on HB 2195
. This legislation would hold employers harmless, meaning they would not be on the hook to reimburse the state for fraudulent unemployment benefits paid without their consent. Additionally, the bill encourages the use of federal pandemic-related funds to replenish the state’s Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund. Our businesses, schools and non-profit organizations should not be forced to pay the price for the administration’s mistakes.
Second, the House Commerce Committee was briefed on HB 2196
, which would require KDOL to upgrade its IT system and hold the agency accountable for long-term improvements.
Have you received an incorrect 1099 from KDOL?
Employers are not the only ones impacted by unemployment fraud. If you are a victim of identity theft, you are not liable to pay taxes on income you did not receive from fraudulent unemployment claims. If you received a Form 1099-G for unemployment benefits you never received, you may dispute the 1099 in one of three ways:
Navigating the new Identity Verification Software to stop unemployment fraud.
Last week Kansas Department of Labor (KDOL) deployed a new security feature, in partnership with Okta and LexisNexis. The new security upgrades should reduce fraudulent unemployment claims notices being sent to individuals and businesses. It is a step forward to reduce fraud.
Once a claimant has verified their identity by answering questions that are unique to them, they will be asked to setup a multi-factor authentication to further secure their account. This process is automatic, and claimants will be prompted to complete this process the next time that they log into their accounts. If a claimant is having issues, they will need to select “Don’t have an account? Sign in.” and set up their new account. KDOL thinks this will help many claimants who think they are now locked out of their accounts. If there are further issues, please go to https://www.dol.ks.gov/docs/default-source/ui-benefits-forms/how-to-register-with-okta.pdf
or to the regular UI Call Center at 1-800-292-6333.
In the first few hours of operation, the new system serviced nearly 26,000 Kansans and blocked over 365,000 fraudulent login attempts. If KDOL can clear out the high degree of fraudsters jamming the system, they will be better positioned to assist legitimate claimants.
Kansas Unemployment Contact Center
Report Identity Theft or Fraud
Employer Help Desk
Bills passed out of the House this week.
—extended the term of the Kansas Criminal Justice Reform Commission to allow one additional year for this important group to consider recommended reforms to the criminal justice system.
—this bill comes from a case in Johnson County where a teacher took hundreds of photographs of a little girl. The law only allowed prosecutors to charge this predator with a misdemeanor. This bill changes the law to clarify that this type of stalking is a felony whether the child knows they are being photographed or not.
—this bill expands and modifies a 1941 law that allows for a replacement when an elected official is called away to military service. The bill adds new branches of the armed forces that have been created since 1941 and harmonizes this law with our current elections law.
—this bill strengthens our domestic violence law by making clear that any prior crime including domestic violence will count as a prior conviction in a later case. This protects victims and enhances penalties for repeat abusers.
—Legislators rely on a division of post audit to investigate waste, fraud, and abuse in state government. This bill prohibits state agencies from charging these auditors a fee when documents are requested as part of an audit.
—this bill makes it easier for a victim of a sexually violent crime to file a claim with the Crime Victim’s Compensation Board and allows children who may have witnessed a violent crime to be eligible for compensation as well.
—streamlines state law concerning certain registrations by moving the responsibility from the Secretary of State to the Attorney General who is responsible for enforcing the registrations.
Thanks to everyone who came to the Legislative Breakfast Saturday. Thanks also to the Liberal Chamber of Commerce and AT&T for sponsoring it.
Thank you for the opportunity to continue serving working families in Seward County. Please reach out to me any time I can assist you with a state agency concern. I do ask that you send the request to me by email. This ensures that I get the information correctly to the agency we are working with. You can reach me when I am in Topeka by email Shannon.email@example.com
, by phone (785) 296-7466, or by mail at 300 SW 10th
Avenue, 274-W, Topeka, KS 66612