The Benefit Accuracy Measurement (BAM) Program is a system designed to prevent both error and fraud in the Unemployment Insurance Program. It is an audit of the records of a “sample” group of claimants, selected each week at random, to test the accuracy of the Unemployment Insurance payments they receive. A “sample” group of claimants are also selected each week at random to test the accuracy of Unemployment Insurance determinations if the claimant has been denied benefits. The benefits of the audit are better detection, prevention, elimination, and collection of improper payments.
What Does It Include?
The audit consists of a review of claimant statements, employer records, and Unemployment Insurance Division records.
- Claimant interview
- Eligibility investigation
- Payroll records verification
- Separation investigation
- Work search contacts verification
- Unemployment Insurance Division actions and records review
How Is It Done?
- The claimant completes a questionnaire.
- Former employers may be contacted to verify payroll records and to provide separation information.
- Employers listed on the weekly claim form, or in the claimant’s records, verify the work search contacts.
- Eligibility issues may be investigated.
How Are The Cases Selected for Audit?
- Each week a list of claimants who received unemployment insurance payments during the preceding weeks is created. A separate list is created for claimants who were denied unemployment insurance payments during the preceding weeks.
- Sample claim records are then chosen at random.
- A claim may be audited more than once. The number of times is not predictable, since new cases are randomly selected each week.
How Will You Know If You Are Selected?
- You will be notified that a particular week is being audited after that week has passed, and you have been paid or denied benefits.
- You will be asked to complete a detailed questionnaire about your claim either in person, by phone, or by mail.
- If you have returned to work, the investigator will arrange to contact you outside your work hours if an in-person interview is required.
Why Is The Audit Being Made?
- The audit makes certain that your claim has been paid or denied correctly. If you receive less or more than you should have been paid, an adjustment may be made.
- The audit results give administrators of the Unemployment Insurance Program information to use in improving the program.
What Does It Do?
Each week, a sample of weeks compensated unemployment is randomly selected for audit. Each selected week is audited to determine if the person who received the payment during that week was eligible for the amount of benefits he or she received.
The audit consists of:
- The person selected for audit is interviewed
- Unemployment insurance claim records are reviewed
- Attempts to find work are checked
- Reasons for becoming unemployed are verified
All are attempts to be sure that the claimant was eligible for benefits received during the audited week.
Based on the investigation, a determination is made as to whether unemployment insurance benefits were paid properly or improperly. If paid improperly, it is determined whether the error was made by the claimant, the Unemployment Insurance Division, or the employer. Finally, the reason for the improper payment is documented.
Once all this information is obtained, a statistical analysis is performed and management information on the rates, responsibility, and cause, of overpayments and underpayments of unemployment insurance benefits is produced.
Why Are Employers Contacted? Employers are an integral part of the investigation.
The three main reasons why Benefit Accuracy Measurement investigators contact employers are:
- To verify the past or present wages of the person selected for audit
- To verify that, for the week of compensated unemployment selected for audit, the person did inquire about or apply for work with the employers he or she reported to the unemployment insurance office
- To verify that the reason given to the Unemployment Insurance Office for becoming unemployed or for working reduced hours is correct
Why Is This Information Necessary?
Benefit Accuracy Measurement investigators must verify wages because the right to collect benefits, plus the amount and duration of benefits, is based on previous earnings and any current earnings.
A person applying for or collecting unemployment insurance must be available for and actively seeking work. Persons receiving unemployment insurance are asked to record all work search contacts and the results of each contact. As a result, Benefit Accuracy Measurement investigators verify the work search of persons being audited by contacting the employers reported.
In order to qualify for unemployment insurance, a person must have become unemployed or must be working reduced hours through no fault of his or her own. It is necessary for Benefit Accuracy Measurement investigators to contact employers to substantiate reasons for reduced employment or unemployment of the person being audited.
How Often Are Employers Contacted?
Because the cases for audit are selected randomly, the exact number of visits is not predictable. Benefit Accuracy Measurement investigators will contact employers only when the need arises.
Will the Program Benefit Employers?
Yes. Over the long-run, better detection, collection, and prevention of improper unemployment insurance payments will result in decreased benefit payments; which will have a direct impact in decreasing employer taxes.
Employers Can Help By:
- Honoring Benefit Accuracy Measurement investigators requests for information
- Providing the information promptly
- Providing information that is accurate to the best of their knowledge
- Attending all unemployment insurance appeals hearings when requested to do so
Cooperation From Employers Enhances the Success of the Program!