For Immediate Release
October 5, 2012
New Hampshire Employment Security has received final approval from the U.S. Department of the Treasury for participation in the Treasury Offset Program (TOP). Effective October 1st NHES began to collect overpaid unemployment benefits resulting from an individual's failure to report earnings by offsetting against the debtor's Federal income tax refund. NHES plans to submit over $10.3 million in debt, the majority of which is due to fraud, to the U.S. Treasury for collection before the end of 2012 in time for the upcoming tax season. NHES has been working throughout 2012 with the U.S. Department of the Treasury on approval to participate in TOP and now joins 16 other states and the District of Columbia currently participating in the program.
Fraud overpayments are created when a person filing for unemployment compensation benefits fails to disclose work and earnings, despite being asked by the Department, in order to maintain eligibility or increase the amount of their weekly unemployment benefits. The Department then investigates reports of such incidents, allows the claimant the opportunity to explain the failure to report work and earnings and then issues a determination.
Commissioner George Copadis applauded more aggressive efforts to collect these debts stating, "We need to do all that we can to work to ensure that unemployment benefits are available to those honest, hard working individuals that find themselves unemployed through no fault of their own. Individuals that take advantage of the system and collect unemployment benefits while working and earning wages that would make them otherwise ineligible jeopardize the availability of benefits for those individuals for which benefits are legally intended.
"The TOP program, along with the recently passed state law allowing wage garnishment, is another way in which New Hampshire will be able to collect these funds and hopefully convince would be fraud filers to honestly report wages."
New Hampshire is the 2nd New England state to participate, joining Connecticut in the current group of TOP program states.