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Monthly Archives: September 2017

New Association Partner: Massachusetts Nonprofit Network

 

MNN logo

First Nonprofit Group is proud to announce our new partnership with the Massachusetts Nonprofit Network (MN). It is MNN’s mission to strengthen the nonprofit community through advocacy, public awareness, and capacity building. MNN has more than 650 nonprofit members from every region of the Commonwealth.

We look forward to helping our newest partner and its members save money on their State Unemployment Insurance costs to free up funding that can be used in other areas of operation to help individuals and families throughout Massachusetts.

To learn more about the Massachusetts Nonprofit Network, please visit their website: http://massnonprofitnet.org/

Drug Tests May Determine Some Unemployment Eligibility

On the last day of March 2017, President Donald Trump signed legislation that will grant states more leeway to drug test unemployment insurance applicants for benefit eligibility and job readiness.

Historically, states haven’t drug tested people seeking unemployment benefits because the Social Security Act (SSA) hasn’t allow agencies to restrict factors that are not related to the “fact or cause” of a worker’s unemployment. Many lawmakers have been seeking to allow states to drug test applicants as a condition of receiving unemployment compensation (UC) benefits.

In 2012 an amendment to the SSA allowed states to drug test unemployment compensation applicants as a condition of eligibility in the following limited circumstances:

  • If they were fired by their last employer for unlawful drug use.
  • If they were seeking jobs in occupations that regularly drug test.

Then in 2016, a U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) rule narrowly defined the “occupations” for which drug testing was permitted as those for which testing is required by federal or state law. That DOL ruling allowed drug testing for:

  • Occupations that require carrying firearms
  • Occupations that require operating vehicles that transport passengers.
  • Flight crews
  • Railroad crew members
  • Air traffic controllers.

On March 31, 2017, President Donald J. Trump signed legislation to nullify the 2016 U.S. Department of Labor rule that narrowly limited the circumstances under which drug testing may be carried out by states in administering their unemployment insurance systems.

This most recent legislation now expands those DOL regulations so that all states are cleared to explicitly deny unemployment insurance benefits to applicants who lost their job due to illegal drug use, and establish a state’s ability to conduct a drug testing program as a condition of eligibility. As of now, 20 states deny unemployment insurance benefits to applicants who lost their job due to illegal drug use.

Schemes to Swindle State Unemployment Agencies on the Rise

Internet fraud is a significant threat everywhere. Concurrently, the proliferation of intricate fraud schemes against state unemployment agencies by organized crime is also on the rise. Nationwide, since 2012, the Department of Labor Office of Inspector General (DOL/OIG), Office of Labor Racketeering and Fraud Investigations reports conducting over 750 major unemployment compensation (UC) investigations that resulted in “1,200 criminal convictions that created over $67.5 million in improper UC payments”.

Historically, there has always been a certain amount of individual fraud related to UC payments but advances in technology have made it easier for multi-claimant scams to financially impact state agencies. The proliferation of organized crime efforts takes advantage of specific state vulnerabilities using stolen personal claimant identification and the anonymity of the Internet. For example,

State administrators throughout the country are partnering now, more often, with local law enforcement, FBI and DOL/OIG for the purpose of investigating criminal fraud in their UC programs. Should you know of or suspect wrongdoing as it relates to UC benefit payments, please contact your unemployment claims administrator.

Reference: Employment and Training Administration, Advisory System, U.S. Department of Labor, Washington, D.C. 20210, Subject: “Disclosure of Confidential Unemployment Compensation (UC) Information to the Department of Labor’s Office of Inspector General for the purpose of investigating UC fraud is mandatory”, December 16, 2016.

Don’t Wait! State Deadlines are Quickly Approaching

Dont Wait SM

With Fall arriving and the holiday season around the corner, it’s about that time to review your state unemployment tax (SUTA) cost options. SUTA costs have increased for most states since 2009 — by as much as 345%! Nonprofits, governmental and tribal entities have the option to opt out of paying SUTA and instead, reimburse their state unemployment benefits paid to employees. The reimbursement financing option gives employers the opportunity to:

  • Avoid annually varying tax rates which create a statewide reserve against future unemployment risk
  • Reduce the actual cost of benefits to dollar-for-dollar
  • Avoid having to pay the pooled costs built into each state’s unemployment agency

Choosing the reimbursement financing method is less costly for nonprofits however it comes with potential risks such as an unexpected loss of funding. At First Nonprofit, we have programs tailored to help nonprofits take advantage of savings while minimizing any potential risk that may arise. The deadline for many states to enroll in reimbursement financing is on November 30th, while for others it’s December 1st.

First Nonprofit Group provides nearly 2,000 nonprofits around the country with unemployment insurance at affordable rates. To find out how much money your organization can save, request an unemployment cost savings evaluation. Evaluations are free, there is no obligation to join, and an estimate of your 2018 unemployment rate is included!

Fast Unemployment Cost Facts for Florida

FL Fact Sheet

What do state unemployment tax (SUTA) costs, claims costs and wage base amounts mean to your organization?

These factors could mean less money for your cause.

First Nonprofit Group provides state compliant, individually insured, cost-saving options to satisfy SUTA requirements for nonprofit, governmental and tribal entities. Click here or call (312) 239-8385 to request a free, no-obligation cost savings evaluation. Evaluations include a 2018 rate projection!

Equifax Consumer Breach DOES NOT Affect First Nonprofit Group Clients

As many saw on the news recently, Equifax, a top credit reporting agency, reported a massive data breach affecting over 143 million credit consumers. This breach has not affected our clients whose unemployment claims administration is provided by Equifax Workforce Solutions.

On September 07, 2017, Equifax reported massive data breach that affected over 143 million “credit” consumers. Equifax Workforce Solutions’ confidential data and IT platform was NOT penetrated. That means all information exchanged with Equifax Workforce Solutions by First Nonprofit Group clients is protected and all current systems in place are secure. To be clear, Equifax consumer credit division data and systems are completely separate from the Equifax Workforce Solutions.

A representative for Equifax Workforce Solutions has provided the following information: “Equifax has found no evidence that the cybersecurity incident announced on September 7, 2017, impacted Workforce Solutions databases. The employee data you provide to Workforce Solutions for Unemployment Claims Administration, I-9, Tax Form Management, ACA, and The Work Number payroll databases were not affected by this incident.”

Security of data is the essence of First Nonprofit Group’s vital service to its clients and our daily contact with Equifax Workforce Solutions and all third-party vendors will continue to include our priority for data security. “Equifax is conducting a complete review of their security operations to make sure this will never happen again.”

First Nonprofit Group remains vigilant on behalf of all clients and will continue to conduct on-going review of security operations.

Please contact us if you have any questions or concerns:

Cruz Mendez
Marketing Director
cmendez@firstnonprofit.com
(312) 239-8385

Joseph Poretto
VP, Sales and Marketing
jporetto@firstnonprofit.com
(312) 239-8388

Cyber Alert: Beware of this New IRS Phishing Scam

CA

The IRS is currently warning of a new twist on an old phishing scheme…

This new phishing scam tries to get you to download an FBI questionnaire. But if you click the link, your computer will be infected with ransomware. The scam email uses the emblems of both the IRS and the FBI. It generally looks like this ↓

irs

Remember that the IRS does not use email, text messages, or social media to discuss personal tax issues, such as those involving bills or refunds.

THINK BEFORE YOU CLICK!

Source: KnowBe4

AmTrust & First Nonprofit Group Are Helping Those Affected By Hurricane Harvey

While Hurricane Harvey is quite a force, there is nothing like the strength of humanity.   As stated by Barry Zyskind, Chairman, President and CEO of AmTrust Financial Services to AmTrust employees

We at AmTrust & your team at First Nonprofit Group (FNG) are committed to providing our clients, insureds and agents in Houston, Corpus Christi and other communities in Texas and Louisiana with the support and service they need to get back on their feet as soon as possible.  We also want to provide aid to those that may need help.  Our parent company, AmTrust Financial Services, Inc., has committed a $100,000 corporate donation to First Nonprofit Foundation which will identify and donate to nonprofits in the affected storm areas to aid them in long-term rebuilding efforts.  In addition, AmTrust will match employee donations of FNG team and all employees in the AmTrust family of companies, to First Nonprofit Foundation up to an additional $100,000 providing up to another $200,000 to aid the Harvey recovery efforts.

First Nonprofit Foundation is a private grant-making organization, and certified 501c3 organization, that focuses on bolstering the nonprofit sector in the United States.  AmTrust has been a long-time supporter.

Our hope is that the region, businesses, individuals, and those nonprofits who serve these areas affected by Hurricane Harvey will soon be back on their feet and thriving once again.

 

Mario J. Poretto

President and CEO, First Nonprofit Group

Meet the Staff: Yesenia Peyret

Yesenia

Join us in welcoming our newest team member, Yesenia Peyret to the First Nonprofit Group team!

Yesenia joins First Nonprofit Group as an Underwriting Assistant. Her main responsibility is to provide support and assistance to our Underwriters by preparing quote documents and enrollment packets for new members as well as assisting with the renewal process for current members. She will be an immediate asset to us because she is naturally curious, excited about the prospect of learning new things and appreciates the value in working with organizations that serves others’ needs. Yesenia comes to us from the Magnum Insurance Agency, where she performed similar work as a Customer Sales Representative. She attended Dominican University in River Forest, IL where she studied Psychology, Social Justice and Civic Engagement.

Yesenia is a Chicago native who enjoys volunteering and giving back to her community. “I grew up in the Heart of Chicago, a small community better known as the colorful Pilsen neighborhood. When I was at Dominican University, I was involved with community-based learning, which included volunteering for and being engaged in the community.” Some of Yesenia’s other hobbies include spending time with her family, playing UNO, watching her favorite television shows, or visiting any one of the many cultural institutions that Chicago has to offer.

We are excited to have Yesenia as an enthusiastic new team member of the First Nonprofit Group team.

Fast Unemployment Cost Facts for West Virginia

WV Fact Sheet

What do state unemployment tax (SUTA) costs, claims costs and wage base amounts mean to your organization?

These factors could mean less money for your cause.

First Nonprofit Group provides state compliant, individually insured, cost-saving options to satisfy SUTA requirements for nonprofit, governmental and tribal entities. Click here or call (312) 239-8385 to request a free, no-obligation cost savings evaluation. Evaluations include a 2018 rate projection!

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