My question involves unemployment benefits for the state of: California
EDD informed me that $750 had been reported to them as wages I earned for quarters 3 and 4 of 2012 by the Housing Co-op where I live with my boyfriend who is the park's caretaker. The cabin we live in is on-site and furnished by the HOA for the caretaker as the only compensation for the service. I submitted a standard rental credit check as a condition of my living here. There is no employment contract, W4/W2 forms given or received nor anything else indicating my having "earned" reportable income. When I was asked why I hadn't reported the $750, I didn't know what to say, other than there must be some mistake.
I do live here and even though I don't provide the service my boyfriend does, here, on the property, I am often responding to resident's when they knock or call and have a question or need something simple that I can do for them instead of waiting for my boyfriend to return (like call a locksmith or tree trimmer). So, I assume this has been determined by the HOA as my sharing the caretaking role and they have reported one half the value of lodging as mine and one half as my boyfriend's. This came as a complete surprise and I am willing to accept that ignorance on my part does not absolve my responsibility. Even if I really did something wrong, I take responsibility.
Because I didn't report the earnings (value of lodging), in my own ignorance of an obligation to do so, my claim is being reviewed and benefit payments stopped as of January 19.
I did not intentionally commit fraud, but technically, it seems I did when lodging was reported as earnings that were not included when I re-certified each week since June 2012.
Will I have to return all the UI benefits I've received and be disqualified from future benefits as a result? I wish I knew the HOA considered me an employee because I live in the cabin. Maybe I should have been smart enough to figure that out, myself. I don't know, but I'm really afraid of what will happen, now.
Thank you for considering. I know this is a very long post.