After VEC mix-up, woman must pay over $1,000 in stolen benefits

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RICHMOND, Va. — Last week, CBS6 brought you the story of Ty Jackson, a computer scientist who was trying to get his unemployment benefits from last year after the Virginia Employment Commission said someone had collected them. in his name.

A spokeswoman told CBS6 last Friday that his fraud complaint had been resolved, but in fact, a week later, he was only able to retrieve his PIN. His case is far from resolved.

Then another viewer, who was also defrauded on her VEC account, pointed out that Jackson might be liable for taxes owed on benefits someone else had stolen.

She just received a 1099 tax form, which shows she may owe the IRS more than $1,000.

“The system shut down before the end of the first year, then it was shut down for over a month, then it came back and came back down,” Brenda Ingram said. “New system, old system, whatever, because the people who answer the phone, when you talk to them, have no idea what’s going on.”

Ingram’s journey through the VEC bureaucracy began in March 2020 when the Department of Corrections contract she worked under expired.

But the onset of the pandemic meant few new jobs and closed schools, so she became the caretaker for her grandson.

She applied for and received pandemic benefits. But when she applied for the new program in September of the same year, her troubles began.

“I could never figure out why, because apparently it was around the same time the fraud started on my account, and I didn’t know it,” Ingram said. “I filed an appeal. I’ve talked to several people, and no one has ever been able to figure it out. Nobody could help me because they didn’t talk to each other. Somehow they don’t know what’s going on.

Over the next year, Ingram tried everything she could to achieve the VEC, but no one could solve how someone had apparently been able to steal her benefits.

“It wasn’t told to me in the first letter,” she said. “In the second letter, they knew right away, like, ‘Oh, that’s fraud, yeah, we know that. We’re going, we’re going to deal with it. But they never dealt with it.’

She says the VEC’s dedicated fraud hotline didn’t help either.

“So after two or three tries I gave up and didn’t know what else to do,” Ingram said. “Because there nothing works. None of their systems. And I just gave up.

But exasperation wasn’t the only nuisance Ingram faced: This week, she received a 1099 tax form that is also being sent to the IRS. He shows over $5,000 in benefits that the VEC supposedly paid him.

Now she could be faced with this $1,000 tax bill and worse, being forced to pay a lot more in the insurance market for her health insurance.

“They absolutely need to fix this because it’s going to cost me dearly in taxes and increased insurance premiums,” Ingram said. “But because I had to go this far with them, I also want to be paid what was owed to me.”

Ingram says being denied the money she was owed is one thing, but now that she has to pay taxes and possibly lose medical coverage, this Powhatan grandmother is reaching out to whoever she can to get assistance, including his state delegate.

“It’s just ridiculous that they can’t understand anything, even when you finally reach out to them,” Ingram said. “And I even made a fraud claim to the unemployment office, because I wanted them to look into this and fix it, and they never did. They never even sent me a letter, and months later, it’s February.

I asked VEC Spokesperson Joyce Fogg how many fraud cases like those of Ingram and Ty Jackson the VEC investigates, and more importantly, how many requests for amended 1099 tax forms have been requested from the VEC .

If the VEC does not amend the form, the IRS awaits payment of the tax.

Fogg did not respond.

CBS6 has put Ingram in touch with a tax professional who may be able to help him and I will continue to follow their cases.

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