The Alabama unemployment rate is higher than it has been in five years. In October it rose to 5.6%. In Chambers County it has reached a staggering 14.3% with Wilcox, Bullock, Lowndes and Dallas counties all over 10%. It is projected to be worse in 2009. Nationally, the poor economy has already resulted in a dramatic increase in discrimination claims being filed by laid-off employees. Alabama employers can expect an increase in fraudulent workers’ compensation claims as well.
The Workers’ Compensation Division of the Alabama Department of Industrial Relations has a fraud unit which will aggressively pursue those who attempt to abuse the system. Just recently, the Attorney General successfully prosecuted an Anniston woman for fraud and secured a guilty plea for first degree theft.
Examples of workers’ compensation fraud include the following: Reporting an off-the-job injury as an on-the-job injury; Falsely reporting an accident; Exaggerating or falsely complaining of accident injury symptoms; and Not reporting employment income while receiving workers' compensation benefits.
If you want to report a suspected fraudulent claimant, the Alabama Attorney General's Office in a joint effort with the Alabama Department of Industrial Relations has established the following toll-free number:
Workers' Compensation Fraud Hotline 1-800-923-2533