DWD implementing its new concealment definition

The Department of Workforce Development has issued a new directive about the new definition of unemployment concealment set forth in 2015 Wis. Act 334.

As noted already, the new concealment definition makes claimants strictly liable for their mistakes and places the burden of proof on them to explain that any mistakes at issue were not their fault. If they fail to make that case, then the concealment charge and all the associated liabilities will stand.

There are two issues to take away from this directive.

First, this new directive points out that the new concealment definition is effective for all initial determinations issued after 3 April 2016. So, understand that the Department will be applying this new definition regardless of when the mistakes actually occurred. Mistakes that took place in 2012 will now be subject to this new concealment definition simply because the Department is alleging concealment after April 3rd of 2016.

Second, the Department explicitly acknowledges that this new concealment definition actually aligns with its prior concealment enforcement. The action required by the Department to enforce this new concealment definition is simply: “None, UI Staff currently use this definition of concealment to make eligibility decisions. Staff should continue to consider all relevant factors when determining if any individual has concealed information.”

So, the Department stopped following Commission and court precedents on concealment and now has rewritten the statute to reflect what the Department is currently doing. This development represents a government agency pursuing an ideological goal of punishing people who collect unemployment benefits rather than just trying to help people understand and follow claim filing requirements. If these and other legal developments continue, in five or so years employers will be paying UI taxes into a system to which only very few have access. And then many will be asking why have an unemployment system at all.

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2 thoughts on “DWD implementing its new concealment definition

  1. Pingback: “Substantial” changes to substantial fault | Wisconsin Unemployment

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