OLATHE, Kan. — A new program could help thousands of Kansans stuck in a backlog of unemployment claims.
In an effort to combat unemployment fraud, the Kansas Department of Labor is partnering with law enforcement agencies across the state to verify the identity of people whose accounts have been incorrectly flagged as fraud and get money into people’s accounts.
The Johnson County Sheriff’s Department is one of more than 30 law enforcement agencies across Kansas helping people get approved for benefits by verify their identity with the state.
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“Basically their identity was stolen. The bad guy will take someone’s ID. They’ll get their name and date of birth, then they will file the unemployment claim claiming to be that person,” Sgt. Robert Huff said.
When someone becomes unemployed and attempts to file for benefits, they’re notified if someone else has already attempted to use their name to receive payments from the state.
Huff said the state then flags that unemployment claim and the applicant must go through an additional verification to prove they are who they claim to be in order to receive benefits.
Tiffany Jamerson was laid off from her job last June. She said her unemployment claim was flagged at the end of April. Despite going through the state website, she hasn’t had any luck getting her information verified.
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“Due to all the fraud payout in Kansas, they flagged everybody, so I had to submit information. I tried through the portal. I tried through LexisNexis, which is their third-party vendor. It’s been probably four weeks, and I haven’t heard anything,” Jamerson said.
Jamerson went to the Johnson County Sheriff’s office Tuesday afternoon, showed her state ID and was able to complete the verification process in less than 10 minutes.
“I’m grateful for the assistance. I know they [KDOL] are overwhelmed, but it’s kind of frustrating. I have bills to pay. I have a kid at home. I just want to get it resolved, so I can get back to searching for a new job,” Jamerson said.
According to the Kansas Department of Labor, as of June 3 nearly 60,000 unemployment claims have been flagged for additional verification.
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Regina Hartpence, senior records specialist for the Johnson County Sheriff’s Department, said the department has received roughly a dozen requests since launching the program Monday.
“Once they are completed with that and receive their form of ID, it comes to the records department and then we will submit that paperwork to the state,” Hartpence said.
The Johnson County Sheriff’s Department will offer unemployment ID verification at its New Century site located at 27745 W. 159th Street, New Century, Kan. from 8 a.m. to 4p.m. Monday through Friday.
You can find more information on verifying unemployment claims here.
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