Department of Labor finishes mailing reissued 1099s to unemployment claimants – vtdigger.org

department-of-labor-finishes-mailing-reissued-1099s-to-unemployment-claimants-–-vtdigger.org

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The website for the Vermont Department of Labor calls attention to the problem of a data breach caused by improper mailings of 1099 forms.

All 180,000 reprinted 1099 tax forms — which the Vermont Department of Labor had to reissue after a major data breach — have been mailed to unemployment insurance claimants.

The mailings began last Friday and were completed on Monday, according to Kyle Thweatt, the labor department’s communications and outreach coordinator, and claimants should see the new 1099s in their mailboxes within seven to 10 days.

“I thank Vermonters for their patience as teams from across state government worked to get these out the door as quickly as possible,” Labor Commissioner Michael Harrington said in a press release earlier this week.

The original 1099 forms had to be reissued because of a massive data breach. Thousands of the original forms contained incorrect personal information — including the wrong individuals’ Social Security numbers, names and addresses — when they were sent to claimants on Jan. 29. The state started receiving reports of faulty information three days later.

Gov. Phil Scott’s office took action Feb. 3 to help the labor department manage the impact of the breach. Scott appointed two teams to help recover the incorrect forms and issue the correct ones and to improve communication about the incident to Vermonters and lawmakers. 

The labor department issued a mass recall of all 180,000 initial forms that it printed — most of which were never mailed. Officials estimated last month that anywhere from 25,000 to 44,800 forms had contained faulty information.

As the forms were sent out this week, the labor department reminded claimants that they might receive more than one of the reissued forms, depending on how many unemployment programs they were enrolled in. Programs range from the state’s unemployment insurance to one-time relief payments of $1,200 issued in April 2020, along with several others. Claimants may receive their different forms on different days, the department said.

“This is intentional and is not a mistake or error,” the commissioner said at Gov. Phil Scott’s press conference last week.

Thousands of Vermonters have signed up for the identity protection services the state is offering to people affected by the data breach. At least 7,081 people had registered for the services as of Friday, Thweatt told VTDigger.

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Burlington resident Doug Collins said his initial 1099 never arrived in the first shipment, so it was likely among those the department never shipped. As reports circulated about incorrect information arriving in claimants’ mailboxes, he decided to register for the identity protection service as a precaution, given that it was free.

“It seemed like the safest move to assume that it could have been sent incorrectly,” Collins said. He said the sign-up process was easy after he received a letter with a sign-up code in the mail.

The labor department has yet to receive any substantiated reports of identity theft resulting from the breach, Thweatt told VTDigger. Vermonters who want to sign up for state-provided identity protection services in the wake of the data breach can do so at https://response.idx.us/vermont/.

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