What is it?
Quality Control is a management information system that helps State and Federal managers control error and fraud in the Unemployment Insurance (UI) Program. The tool provides valuable information on the rates, responsibility for and causes of unemployment insurance benefit overpayments and underpayments. The goals of the program are better prevention, detection and collection of improper payments, there-by protecting your tax dollar investment.
The basic design of the system is:
Each week throughout the year, a sample of claims for which UI benefits have been paid or denied is randomly selected for audit. Each selected claim is audited to determine if the unemployment benefits were paid or denied properly.
Persons whose claim have been selected for audit are interviewed: their UI claim records are reviewed; their reasons for becoming unemployed are substantiated; their attempts to find work are checked; their wage records are verified - all in an attempt to be sure that they are eligible for benefits and received the correct amount.
Based on the investigation, a determination is made as to whether the claim for the week was paid or denied properly. If paid or denied improperly, it is determined whether the error was made by the agency, the claimant, or the employer. Finally, the reason for the improper payment or denial of benefits is documented. Once all this information is obtained, a statistical analysis is performed and management information on the rates, responsibility and causes of over and underpayment of UI benefits is produced.
Why are employers contacted?
Contacts with employers are an integral part of the investigation. The three main reasons why Quality Control Auditors contact employers are:
Why is the information needed?
- To verify the past or present wages of the person selected for audit;
- To verify that the reason for becoming unemployed or working reduced hours, which was given by the person being audited to the UI office, is correct; and
- To verify that the person selected did inquire about or apply for work with the employers as was reported to the UI office.
- Quality Control staff must verify wages because the right to collect benefits, plus the amount and duration of benefits, are based on previous earnings, length of employment, and current earnings, if any.
- In order to qualify for UI benefits, a person must have become unemployed or must be working reduced hours through no fault of their own. It will be necessary for Quality Control staff to contact employers to substantiate reasons for reduced hours or unemployment of the person being audited.
- In order to qualify for benefits, a person must be able and available for work. Persons receiving UI benefits may be required to report all work search contacts and the results of each Quality Control staff will verify the work-search of persons being audited by contacting the employers reported.
Who contacts employers?
A group of highly qualified personnel works on the Quality Control team. Staff are very carefully screened before they are selected for the project and receive very intensive training after selection. Each staff member is knowledgeable about Alaska UI laws and policies; has worked in an UI local office, and has an excellent record of service with the Alaska Employment Service.
All Quality Control Auditors carry identification and will be glad to present it upon request.
How often are employers contacted?
Because the cases for audits are selected randomly, the exact number of encounters is not predictable. Quality Control Auditors will contact employers only when the need arises.
Will the program benefit employers?
YES. Over the long-run, better prevention, detection and collection of improper UI payments will result in decreased benefit outlays which will have a direct impact on decreasing employer taxes.
How can employers help?
Employers can help by:
1. Honoring Quality Control staff’s requests for information;
2. Providing the information promptly;
3. Providing information that is accurate to the best of their knowledge;
4. Attending all Unemployment Insurance appeals hearings when requested to do so;
5. Sharing other information that might help Quality Control staff determine if the person under audit was truly eligible for benefits and received the proper benefit payment. (For instance, if an employer is aware that a person under audit has returned to work or has been working while collecting benefits, they should inform the Auditor.)