Prisoner Unemployment Benefits Would End With Bill — The Pennsylvania House voted unanimously last week in support of legislation to increase penalties on individuals who commit willful fraud to obtain unemployment compensation benefits, including cases of fraud by incarcerated individuals, reports State Rep. Jim Cox (R-129).
House Bill 403 would impose an additional 52-week penalty for claimants who illegally apply for benefits while in prison. This penalty would apply to these same individuals in the future should they become eligible and attempt to apply for unemployment benefits again.
In addition to fraud by prisoners, House Bill 403 also addresses other types of fraud. It would increase the monetary penalty from its current range of $100 to $1,000 to $500 to $1,500 for claimants who knowingly make false statements to obtain unemployment benefits.
It also would increase the minimum number of penalty weeks from two to 10 and remove the current four-year statute of limitations. The bill also would allow for penalties to be collected through liens, civil action or any other means available by law for up to 12 years after the end of the benefit year.
House Bill 403 now heads to the Senate for consideration.