FRAUD WATCH – Massachusetts Accounts for a large Increase if ID Theft Fraud
Massachusetts has seen an increase in new claims filed over the past few weeks and reports indicate that claims from MA accounted for 45.6% of the increase in nationwide unadjusted claims for the week ending May 6. A report in the Boston Globe stated, “The Massachusetts agency says it is examining claims carefully and, of the most recent batch of applications, approved only 12 percent after an initial review, rejected 25 percent, and withheld approval of the remaining 63 percent pending additional identification verification.” Our own records indicated that 47% of fraud claims we received are coming from MA as well.
Another state to watch is Kentucky. A notice on the Kentucky website mentions that they have seen an increase in imposter claim attempts and urge employers and employees to remain vigilant.
This is a great reminder to reach out to any individual who is still active and has a claim to verify if they filed for UI benefits. If they have not, report this to T&C as a fraud claim and provide the employee with information on how to protect their identity.
NEW YORK – Interest Assessment Surcharge
During the pandemic, New York borrowed $9.2 billion in funds from the federal government to maintain their UI trust fund. While, they have been able to pay back approximately 11% of that loan, there remains an outstanding balance. New York state law requires contributing employers to pay an annual Interest Assessment Surcharge (IAS) on the federal loan. Statements will be sent to employers beginning in mid-June to early July of the 2023 IAS. The 2023 assessment rate is expected to be set at 0.18% of the taxable wages paid between October 1, 2021, and September 30, 2022 and these are typically due on September 30. Please note that this IAS is in addition to your SUI tax rates and will be assessed on an annual basis until the federal loan is repaid. For more information on the Interest Assessment Surcharge, please visit https://dol.ny.gov/ias.
WASHINGTON – Long-Term Care Withholding Begins July 1
A new withholding tax funded by employees for the WA Cares Fund (a long-term care insurance program) goes into effect on July 1, 2023. This payroll tax of up to $0.58 cents for every $100 in earned income should be added as a deduction starting on July 1, 2023. Employers will report employee’s wages and pay premiums on a quarterly basis using the same process currently used to report Paid Family and Medical Leave premiums. The first report and payment are due October 31, 2023. Employees can begin filing for benefits under WA Cares starting July 1, 2026.
Employers will want to be sure they have an internal process in place to: (i) collect exemption approval letters from employees, (ii) cease payroll contributions for any employee who provides an exemption approval letter, (iii) receive notices from employees who no longer qualify for an exemption, (iv) restart payroll contributions when notified that an employee no longer qualifies for an exemption, and (v) retain copies of any exemption approval letters they receive. Employers should consider providing information to employees about the WA Cares Fund, including information about the payroll deductions and the voluntary exemptions that are available.