N.J. eyes $100 million in unemployment-fraud crackdown

A crackdown on fraud is helping to reduce the drain on New Jersey’s unemployment insurance fund by as much as $100 million, officials estimate.

Assistant Labor Commissioner Ron Marino says New Jersey is using an anti-fraud program to flag those who are collecting unemployment benefits even after they get a job. “We were identifying upwards of 2,000-plus individuals a week who were certifying and were a hit in that cross-match,” Marino said. “We said, ‘Guess what, you cannot continue to collect unemployment.’” “The program involves tapping the resources of the state and the national New Hire databases and cross-matching the names of people getting jobs to our unemployment insurance rolls,” explained Aaron Fichtner, deputy labor commissioner. “When a match is found, we challenge claimants to explain the discrepancy as they try to recertify for continued payment of unemployment insurance benefits.”

The savings of $100 million will help, officials said Thursday, in the face of the state’s debt to the federal government.

Since 2009, New Jersey has borrowed from the U.S. in order to meet weekly unemployment claims. Marino says the current $1.4 billion dollar debt should be fully repaid by the end of next year.

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