Legislation sponsored by Assemblyman Parker Space that assesses a penalty against an individual who fraudulently obtains unemployment benefits at 25 percent of the amount obtained by deception was released by the Assembly Budget Committee today. Currently, the penalty is $20 or 25 percent of the amount, whichever is greater. The 25 percent level will now be the strictly enforced amount.

 
The bill, A-4186/S-2738, provides that 15 percent of the recovered fine be deposited into the State unemployment compensation fund and 10 percent deposited into the unemployment auxiliary fund.
 
 
“Those who deliberately deceive the government and receive unemployment benefits are cheating the hard-working men and women and employers in New Jersey who contribute to this fund,” said Space, R-Sussex, Warren and Morris. “The fund is there to assist those who are legitimately looking for work and transitioning to another job. The guidelines are clear about the parameters when an unemployed person is eligible to collect this insurance and when they are no longer entitled to this benefit.
 
“The unemployment insurance fund is making progress at regaining its appropriate fund balance, but those who obtain this benefit illegally set the process back,” stated Space. “A person who fails to notify the Department of Labor and Workforce Development when they return to work will now pay a consequence for their deception.”

 
Space’s bill also provides the same penalties to benefits obtained fraudulently by individuals under any federal unemployment compensation program, including:
 1. Unemployment compensation for federal civilian employees;
 2. Unemployment compensation for ex-service members;
 3. Trade readjustment allowances, disaster unemployment assistance;
 4. Any federal temporary extension of unemployment compensation;
 5. Any federal program that increases the weekly amount of unemployment compensation payable to individuals; and
 6. Any other federal program providing for the payment of unemployment compensation.
 
The identical bill in the Senate, S-2738, was unanimously approved by that body’s Budget and Appropriations Committee on June 3.