District Attorneys across California are requesting a 15% funding increase over the $77.9 million current assessment for the incoming year. With unemployment benefits running out, Commissioner Jay Bobrowsky anticipates more fraudulent cases on their way.
With very substantial unemployment benefits during the pandemic, fraudulent WC claims were lying low, per Senior DA Shaddi Kamiabipour. And this makes sense! Why go through the work of going to PTP visits that you probably don't really need, in order to get TD benefits through EDD, that may have been lower than what unemployment was offering.
At issue of course is the end cost of funding the assessment, which comes directly from employers. From my experience, if there is one thing employers DO want to pay for, it is those anti-fraud measures. No one likes to see someone pull the wool over their eyes and "get away" with benefits that shouldn't be theirs.
It is imperative that as these unemployment benefits come to an end, employers keep a strong relationship with their employees and their carriers. There is nothing more useful in claims, and in fighting fraud, than information. The more information we have, the more we can analyze and investigate.
A year and a half into the pandemic and with unemployment benefits running out, the state’ comp system is likely to see more fraud cases, said Commissioner Jay Bobrowsky. “I think it definitely impacts the smaller employers and all employers in California, but there’s a macro issue there,” Bobrowsky said. “If we don't have an effective anti-fraud program and prosecutions in California, we all lose. With unemployment benefits running out, we’re going to see a lot more injured worker fraud, premium fraud and provider fraud, and frankly, we need to get ahead of this. So, whatever number we come up with, if we do vote for an increase, which I would support, it really is a return on investment and it's something we have to take seriously.”