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Unemployment Benefit Repayments: The Catch-22

My story goes as follows: I worked for a forensic company where everything from gas, mileage, phone, car insurance, wear and tear on your vehicle etc., its a W2 job but they set it up like a 1099 kinda different I know.

It is the employees responsibility to pay for out of pocket without reimbursement.

Continuing on..I was working full time and then dropped to part time and then less than part time. I applied for unemployment to "supplement" my earnings if you will and was awarded UI benefits.

During that time of having little to no hours my company gave their employees less than 30 days to have a higher insurance premium (which of course we had to pay for) with little to no hours that was something I could not afford. I called my boss and asked if there was anything I could do. I stressed that I was/am available to continue working and she said she would keep me in mind. Every month I submitted my availability to her and called to ensure that if they need me I am able to work. NOW at the end of my 99
weeks I received a phone interview from EDD saying they are "concerned" there may have been an overpayment. I completed the phone interview and the issue of concern was that I "quit" because I refused to pay the increased car insurance.

To me I was in a catch-22 so to speak. I wanted to work-I was available to work; I had already been collecting unemployment due to lack of hours-I had been receiving benefits for 99 weeks and NOW, NOW they want to say I was over paid by $18,000.00??? I never quit and I was never fired. I continued to offer myself to this company. What do I do? I'm unemployed still and am in no way able to pay back $18,000.00 nor do I think I should have to?


At first I was apprehensive to do so; after all I really didn't have any documentation to prove that I should in no way pay back $18,000.00 other than all of my current past due notices on utilities and the like. So I of course started researching what to do. I found Chris after searching and searching for advice. I of course couldn't afford to pay for advice so thank the Lord that Chris was kind enough to offer legit FREE advice. She gave me pearls the ocean couldn't.

With her guidance and candor I was able to WIN my case!!!

So my experience is as follows: I walked in prepared-that is key. I was sincere and honest. At the check-in counter I was given the opportunity to review my EDD appeals file. I reviewed my file and was able to jot down concerns or even points in my favor; for instance, my employers statement noted that I was neither fired or quit and I was still in their database <----THAT WAS HUGE for me to build off of. After the judge recorded the appeals on file (a bunch of section codes) I was sworn in and then the judge proceeded to ask me questions. I was asked about my job description, how I was paid, what my income was, and {side note: my car was stolen during this whole process so when I was interviewed for an extension prior
to the appeals process-I informed edd of such} since my vehicle was stolen how would I be available to get to work-of course I responded with The bus, a bike, walking, and I was offered to borrow a vehicle-so that exempted the theory that just because I was out of a personal vehicle I was still able to get to work if given the opportunity. I had to prove that repayment of the 18K would be burdensome..which I already covered that I am behind on my bills and without any income since December 2011 when my over payment notice came in the mail. So needless to say that if it was decided that I was to repay the "over payment" I was prepared to file bankruptcy--everyone else is doing it. I prayed and surrendered to my God and had faith that no matter the outcome he would pull me through it, what ever the decision was. I was given an opportunity to add any documents to my case or call any witnesses. I had no witnesses just past due bills. I referenced the page
and line of where my employer stated I was not fired nor did I quit. I emphasized that given more hours I would have been able to pay the higher insurance. I would recommend that you bring a pad of post its that you can stick on each section of your "yellow papers" packet. at the bottom it lists each question you should be prepared for. I would recommend that as you review your file prior to your hearing you would address each question (which honestly you should do way before your hearing) but when you are there you should add any other points or questions referencing the page in your file just for your own sake--you are your own representative after all. It will just help you to organize yourself and your thoughts and your points. Also, prior to the hearing I was mailed some continued claim forms for my extension, I informed the judge that I received them and they were past due-I never mailed them in fear of I would have to go through this process again. He encouraged me to go home fill them out and send them off pronto. Sounds like to me that I'll be getting retrograde benefits! AMEN!!

When in doubt.. APPEAL APPEAL APPEAL. Thanks again Chris.. You deserve a medal.. or at least a cake.

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