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As Federal Benefits Reopen, DWD Addresses Overpayments, Fraud

By Justin Hicks, IPB News | Published on in Business, Economy, Government
Fred Payne and Gina Ashley from the Indiana Department of Workforce Development held a news conference Friday. (Brandon Smith/IPB News)
Fred Payne and Gina Ashley from the Indiana Department of Workforce Development held a news conference Friday. (Brandon Smith/IPB News)

Federal unemployment benefits are back on in Indiana. State officials said they’ve already paid 25,000 people on the first day while they also gave updates on unemployment fraud and overpayments at a press conference.

The Department of Workforce Development said its goal remains the same: to get benefits to people who need them while getting them resources to get back to work. But the department says fraud is still making that difficult.

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DWD Commissioner Fred Payne said 27 percent of claims passed through ID verification software ID.me were found to be fraudulent. He said even he and his wife had their identities used to file bogus claims.

“The fraudsters don’t stop, but our system protected us,” he said.

Meanwhile, Hoosiers are still receiving notices that they were overpaid benefits and must pay them back. Officials said people can file an appeal or fill out a waiver to have their case reviewed. While a case is under review, DWD will not force people to pay.

Contact reporter Justin at jhicks@wvpe.org or follow him on Twitter at @Hicks_JustinM.