Leonard law fighting unemployment fraud is signed

Gov. Eric Holcomb has signed into law State Rep. Dan Leonard’s bill combating fraud in Indiana’s unemployment system.

Currently, the penalties incurred by Hoosier employers from late or non-payment on their unemployment insurance taxes go into the system’s penalty and interest fund.

This fund is used to pay for workforce training and employment services and also funds the Department of Workforce Development’s enforcement efforts to prevent and investigate unemployment fraud in Indiana.

“Since freeing up this money, Indiana has moved from 48th to 22nd in the nation in detecting unemployment fraud,” Leonard said. “This new law temporarily removes the cap on the fund and allows more dollars to be spent on preventing fraud and abuse in Indiana’s unemployment system.”

House Enrolled Act 1154 removes the current $5 million cap on the Penalty and Interest Fund for the next two years. Leonard said after the two years, the Interim Study Committee on Employment and Labor will consider whether to permanently remove the cap. The law also requires the DWD to give its annual presentation on the status of the Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund to the study committee.

Leonard, a Republican, represents House District 50, which includes all of Huntington County and portions of Allen and Wells counties.