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Unemployment claimants must accept work

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Unemployment claimants who have been placed on a temporary layoff because of COVID-19 must return to work if called back to remain eligible for benefits, according to the Department of Labor and Regulation.

The Department of Labor and Regulation said in a release that not returning to work when there is available work could be considered a “refusal of work” and potentially disqualify claimants from receiving reemployment assistance (unemployment insurance) benefits.

“We have had several employers contact us in the last week reporting they tried to call back employees to work, but an individual refused. This constitutes fraud, and the department will take investigative action,” said Marcia Hultman, State Labor and Regulation Secretary.

Businesses may report this type of activity to RAFraud@state.sd.us.

Hultman says that claimants called back to work should not cancel their unemployment claims, but instead leave the claim open and do not file a weekly request for payment, in case the individual is laid off again.

The CARES Act specifically provides for serious consequences for fraudulent cases including fines, confinement and an inability to receive future unemployment benefits until all fraudulent claims and fines have been repaid. Individuals are responsible for paying back benefits deemed as overpayments due to ineligibility.

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