The expression “tough love” refers to a situation where one person treats another person with strong, disciplinary action in order to help another person to take responsibility for his or her behavior. This term often refers to parenting or other relationship situations; however, the State of Ohio has decided to crack down on residents who have cheated on their jobless benefits. According to The Columbus Dispatch, Ohio is enforcing some “tough love” by requiring these fraudsters to forgo their federal income tax refund.
Ohio state officials report that because of fraud, approximately $40 million in state benefits and $30 million in emergency federal aid is due. According to the article, Ohioans, who have illegally obtained unemployment compensation, now have to forfeit their federal tax refunds. (I like this! Laws with some teeth!)
The Ohio Department of Job and Family Services, which oversees the state’s unemployment compensation program, will use the Treasury Offset Program to collect tens of millions of dollars in delinquent debt. The states of New York and Illinois take similar approaches and have each collected more than $26 million during the first year of their programs. Ohio is hoping for the same or better results. Ohio already seizes state income tax refunds and lottery proceeds to recover the stolen funds. (So the additional effort will be like adding a cherry on top.)
It looks like the state is on to something by going after workers who have lied about why they are unemployed or collect benefits without searching for a new job, as required by the unemployment compensation program. (Totally shocking – workers that lie or sit at home watching soaps. Pass me those donuts.)