The California Employment Development Department gives workers options to pursue disability or unemployment benefits when they cannot work, have lost a job or need time off to tend to family matters. Unfortunately, some individuals engage in fraud to acquire EDD benefits. At times, law enforcement may suspect innocent people of engaging in fraud.
A conviction of EDD fraud could result in penalties like fines and jail time in addition to damage to your reputation. That is why it may benefit you to know how to avoid the appearance of fraud if you apply for EDD benefits.
When making an unemployment claim
Be aware of how California wants you to report your work history and your wages if you pursue an unemployment claim. The EDD website explains that if you work as an employee but also perform tasks while self-employed or an independent contractor, you should include work and income information on those endeavors so you do not appear to be hiding some of your work history. Maintaining a record of your work per day may help you stay accurate on your application.
When making a disability or family leave claim
Transparency and honesty are also crucial if you file for other kinds of benefits. If you need disability benefits, you should apply on the basis of an injury or an illness that you actually have. If you file for disability or paid family leave, you should make honest statements in your filing and do not conceal facts on purpose.
Additional steps to avoid EDD fraud
You might also get in trouble with the law if you assist another person with defrauding the EDD. This may include helping someone file a false claim or providing information that falsely supports someone’s claim of a disability or an injury. Additionally, the state of California will prosecute individuals who use someone else’s identity to obtain benefits.
EDD fraud can take many forms, and some people incur multiple charges that result in serious fines and jail time. Knowing how to avoid the appearance of fraud may help prevent the state of California from suspecting you of a crime.