Report Unemployment Fraud

Unemployment Insurance (UI) Benefit Payment Fraud

Tennessee law provides severe penalties for any individual who commits benefit payment fraud by deliberately providing false information or withholding important facts for the purpose of obtaining or increasing unemployment benefits.

The benefits received must be repaid plus penalties and interest. Loss of eligibility for future benefits until the debt is paid in full

The offense is a felony and upon conviction, an individual may be fined up to $3,000 and sentenced to prison for one to six years.

Examples of UI Benefit Fraud Include:

  • Deliberately fail to report any amount of hours worked or any amount of wages earned while continuing to draw UI benefits.
  • Deliberately make false statements that may alter or increase benefits
  • Deliberately withhold information that may alter or increase benefits
  • Knowingly report an incorrect employer as your separating employer for the purpose of qualifying for UI benefits
  • Claiming and receiving benefits while incarcerated

State law requires that you report all earnings during weekly certification while claiming unemployment benefits. You must include the hours worked and income earned in employment, including self-employment, for each calendar week.  A calendar week begins Saturday at midnight and ends on the following Saturday at midnight. You must report income earned for the week in which you earned it regardless of when you will be paid.

Keep track of the total hours you work each calendar week, Sunday through Saturday. 
Your hourly rate of pay times the total hours worked equals your gross pay, which is the amount you must report.

UI Tax Fraud

UI tax fraud is any deliberate action taken by an employer to evade its full unemployment tax liability. 

  • Misclassifying employees as independent contractors
  • Neglecting to report all wages paid and to pay payroll taxes
  • Paying employees in cash or under-the-table to avoid paying taxes
  • Practicing rate manipulation schemes

Employee or Independent Contractor?

Employers often utilize independent contractors as a way to save money and avoid the payment of employment taxes. As an employer, it is critical to correctly determine whether individuals rendering services are employees or independent contractors.

Learn more by clicking Employee or Independent Contractor? (PDF).

Report Suspected UI Benefit Payment Fraud

The Benefit Payment Control Unit, with investigators across the state, works full-time to investigate benefit fraud cases. Anyone knowing of or suspecting benefit payment fraud can call, write, or email to report such cases using the contact information below. Tips can be anonymous and all tips are investigated.

Benefit Payment Control
220 French Landing Drive
Nashville, TN 37243-1002
Phone: (615) 645-3893
Fax: (615) 253-5331

Please include as much of the following information as possible:

  • Name, address, and phone number of the individual
  • Social security number
  • Where the individual is working (address and phone number if known)
  • Dates of employment
  • If self-employed, type of business and any known customers or clients

Report Suspected UI Tax Fraud

To notify the Department of possible UI tax fraud, call (615) 741-2346 or contact your local Employer Accounts Office listed in the Directory on page 8 of the Handbook for Employers.