The Christie administration has put in place antifraud measures to protect the state’s Unemployment Insurance fund and has already saved New Jersey $153 million during the past 18 months.
The secret to the windfall? The state now cross-references unemployment claims against the National Directory of New Hires, which is where employers must report new employees. An average of 2,000 claims have been flagged each week thanks to to the new system. It seems that many of those collecting unemployment have continued to file claims even after they’ve found work, and the federal government estimated that states lost about $13.7 billion in improper payments in 2011 due to the practice.
New Jersey has just added an “identity proofing” system that it hopes will prevent additional fraud by requiring claimants to answer a series of questions about their identities. The system will pull information from public records to create the questions. The state Department of Labor and Workforce Development says the new system will stop identity thieves from filing phony unemployment claims.