There are two basic categories an overpayment of unemployment benefits can fall into.
- A non-fraud overpayment due to departmental errors.
- A fraud overpayment due to misrepresentation of material facts for efforts to obtain unemployment benefits.
The end consequences for either type can be extremely unpleasant, however, the overpayment comparison chart, (published by the United States Department of Labor Employment & Training Administration aka DOLETA) details state by state, significant provisions to show just how drastic the differences can be between the two different types for anyone who ignores the fact overpayment .. literally means repaying unemployment benefits if a state doesn’t also have a provision making possible, a wavier of overpayment.
The first time many unemployed become aware an overpayment is now their issue of concern .. is when they finish reading the written hearing decision of the hearing officer presiding over the first level hearing (often called a tribunal hearing) and choose not to file an appeal to their state’s unemployment insurance board of review with sufficient merits for a new, or additonal tribunal hearing for a chance to correct an erroneous hearing decision.
Come on .. if the unemployment department never made mistakes .. why would there be a need to distinguish between non-fraud overpayments as well as the more severe repayment consequences for a fraud finding?
Non-Fraud Unemployment Overpayments
Non-fraud overpayments of unemployment benefits are generally speaking, caused by errors made by the unemployment administrative law agency itself.
So the question is then asked: How in the world do they they expect me, an unemployed person, to repay benefits I needed to survive in the first place?
Payment plans .. something along the lines of paying back a payday loan.
But wait .. avoiding the repayment plan may be possible if your benefits came from the states listed in chart and you want to check out the overpayment chartbook to learn how/if you can validly argue for a waiver of repayment of unemployment benefits in your state.
Determining Whether You’re at Fault for an Overpayment
When you know you’re at fault .. that can clearly be fraud, but typically, the fall back position of those who
Non-fraud on the other hand may be worth fighting to reduce the amount of the overpayment in some cases.
Early on, when Unemployment Tips was me, just practicing how to build a website, I still didn’t fully understand the depth of claimant confusion about the processes a claim could potentially be sent through.
I just didn’t think it would be necessary to have a special page of questions about repaying unemployment benefits, or appealing to a board of review in an attempt to remove an overpayment .. because it’s what I hoped to help people avoid.
Instead I sidestepped the issue (shame on me) to explain how to avoid overpayments, by explaining what actions an employee can take to be prepared to be initially allowed benefits based on separation eligibility, and hopefully increasing the odds they would understand what goes into keeping benefits after a tribunal unemployment hearing, when I knew hearings to be prompted by the biggest appealer of all initial determinations .. employers.
In 2008 .. maybe 09 .. anyway,. after the official close of the great recession, not a day went by when another new article on my google alerts made me ask myself .. what’s going on? There was some outrageous behaviors by state unemployment agencies and it was in regard to recouping overpayments in any way they saw fit .. unless they might get caught.
Non-fraud overpayment is often determined to be cause by departmental error .. and they do err, believe me.
But, demanding overpayment, dismissing an appeal of an overpayment as untimely when insufficiently notified per federal guidelines .. I suspect is state desperation, that leaves hard working people feel they have little recourse, but to help a state administrative law agency .. refill the coffers of an insolvent general unemployment fund.
However, the debacle reported on above raised a point that was sort of new to me about how unemployment claims were supposedly working administratively all of a sudden.
I realize a state may offer you the choice about how you want to be notified of pending, or any other kind of actions on your unemployment claim, but I don’t recall any actual changes to a state unemployment law suspending a requirement to send all notices to all those deemed to be an interested party to the claim via snail mail.
My two cents worth.. demand they send everything snail mail! .. even if strongly encouraged to only get notifications online.
Remember hard copies of anything relevant to an issue you’re dealing with, may also be proof needed to make a valid point .. that your version of the story .. is the true and credible vs. excuses made by fair and impartial administrative law agencies biased toward their own survival .. not yours.
I know .. I sound harsh, but hey, that’s how unemployment works .. via an argument with some proof what you say .. is valid.