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There are a number of reasons why you could have received unemployment compensation greater than your due. Depending on the circumstances, you may have to return it.
The COVID-19 pandemic paralyzed the US economy in the spring of 2020, leaving millions of people unemployed. According to a report from the Century Foundation about 40 million people received unemployment benefits in 2020. The federal government stepped in to provide support for state unemployment benefits.
With the passage of the CARES Act, new federal pandemic unemployment benefits were created that allowed claiming benefits from those who are not normally entitled to them, states expanded benefits for unemployed workers and provided a supplement of $ 600 a week.
COVID-19 relief bills and subsequent executive orders have seen these programs continue with a reduction of the weekly supplement. At the moment, all federal unemployment assistance programs expire in september.
Perhaps it was the first time you applied for benefits at your state unemployment office and perhaps you had a confusion when claiming your benefits.
State unemployment insurance offices were overwhelmed by millions of workers seeking financial help to get through the pandemic as systems collapsed under pressure, leading to some people receiving benefits they were not entitled to and which they may have to pay back to the state.
Reasons for Overpayments of Unemployment Assistance:
An extra payment of unemployment assistance occurs when you received unemployment compensation to which you were not entitled. You may have been overpaid for a mistake or claimed benefits you were not entitled to.
Here are some reasons:
- You committed an error when requesting your benefits.
- A problem during your dismissal from your previous job.
- A salary correction.
- Your former employer contested your application and an appeal decision determines that you are not entitled to benefits that have already been paid to you.
- You have committed fraud, you have falsified or not disclosed the requested information or if you made false statements to receive the benefits.
In most cases you will be required to repay your overpaid unemployment benefits. However, you may be able to appeal and get an exemption to avoid reimbursing some or all of the benefits you received in error.
Related: $ 63 billion has been stolen from unemployment insurance benefits in the United States since 2020
How can I find out if I have been overpaid?
Normally you will receive a written letter from the unemployment office to notify you that you have been overpaid. The notification will state the reason why you received the notice of the extra payment.
The letter will also tell you how much you owe and if you have penalties, as well as how you should return the amount that you have been paid extra. The notice will also include information on how you can make an appeal.
How to make the return of the extra payment of unemployment benefits?
You may be able to request an exemption to avoid reimbursement, depending on the reason for the extra payment. In most states you will have the right to a hearing to review your case.
You will have to respect and follow the deadline that the authorities have indicated in the letter. You should find out how to contact your state unemployment office for specific instructions.
Related: When will the $ 10,200 unemployment benefit waiver apply?
The authority could initiate a collection process if you do not return the extra money you received
There are different ways to return your extra payment. If you can pay the full amount, you may be asked to send a check for the amount of the additional payment you received. But if you can’t make the full payment you may be able to negotiate a payment plan.
If you don’t make the proper repayment arrangements, the state can garnish the money you owe just like it does with tax refunds. In some cases, the tax authority may deduct money from current unemployment compensation if you are still receiving benefits or garnish your paycheck if you’ve returned to work.
In case of fraud, they could charge you a fine and possibly charge you with criminal fraud. What’s more, You could be prohibited from collecting future unemployment benefits for a specified period of time, depending on the type of fraud you committed.
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