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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2009

    unemployment overpayment

    What is the name of your state (only U.S. law)? Michigan moved to Arizona
    Unemployment overpayment

    I have received a letter from the UIA Michigan that I have intentionally misled them into paying me unemployment benefits.
    In Jan 09 I took a voluntary lay-off, two weeks later I get a phone call to come back to work. I am high on the seniority list and requested for additional time off. I received a letter 2-3 weeks later stating that I voluntary quit to relocate.
    I did move to Az and had another job by the time I received this letter and did not fight it. Since then the currant job I had has had me work for 2 months, laid me off than hire me again for an additional 2-3 months. Since I was laid off I was under the understanding that I was eligible for unemployment benefits and was not denied when I applied for it.
    I just received a letter from the UIA stating that unless I provide explanation in detail that I will have to pay damages of four times the amount of the overpayment. This amount is beyond comprehension.
    I have until the Oct 24 to respond and have no idea what to say with out getting an "that excuse is not good enough". I am still without work and can't pay for the food on my table. Without the generosity of a friend I would be out on the street right now. What do I do? What can they do?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    small town, PA
    Contact your nearest Legal Aid Society and see if you can get the help of an attorney.

    Is the UIA pressuring you to repay now, or is it just the cessation of benefits that is the problem?

    You have not won the law suit lottery; in fact, you haven't even won the law suit scratch-off.
  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Hey, this is not something you need to put off answering! Quickly! By the 24th! Forget Legal Aid, forget saying the wrong thing, just establish communication with the overpayment unit in Michigan.

    Explain the situation as it happened to the best of your ability. You were laid off in Michigan, filing a Michigan claim against a Michigan employer. This employer called you back to work. Regardless of your seniority or your reason for doing so, you refused the recall.

    They notified the unemployment office that you had refused recall. The unemployment office checked your weekly certifications for those weeks after you had been offered the recall. You were supposed to have answered the question "Did you quit a job, refuse a job or were fired from a job this week?" in the affirmative. This would have stopped your claim at this point. I bet you didn't do that. I bet you continued to file for benefits those weeks and thereafter. Naturally, the company had reported this to the state. They would very likely have issued you some sort of call in letter, and then stopped your claim and declared you overpaid for those weeks if you did not respond to this.

    But, since you moved, you probably did not respond to this notification. You went to work at another job in this other state. Somehow, when laid off from this other job, you managed to draw a bit more on your Michigan claim. Then as it will, eventually, the system has captured this. You became ineligible for benefits back after those two weeks, when you refused the recall to your old employer. Until that issue was cleared up, you should not have received any more money, but if you did, that and all the money you have received since that first two weeks is an overpayment. They can ask to be paid back, they can take any further unemployment money you are eligible to draw until it is paid back. Or they can declare it fraud and penalize you up to 4x the amount of the overpayment.

    The 4x penalty amount will come into play if you do not contact them, do no cooperate, attempt to dodge them. What you must do is immediately get in touch with these people. You do not need legal representation to do so! What you will tell them is that you did not understand, therefore you mis-answered the question on your certification. You thought because you had seniority, that the company was giving you additional approved weeks off after you spoke with them and said you didn't want to come back.

    What they will probably do is let you continue to file for weeks that you are off at your present job, until you have drawn enough weeks to make up for the overpaid weeks. You won't be getting any money, but they will be taking the unemployment money to pay off the overpayment. Then eventually, when you get it paid off, you will begin receiving your unemployment checks again.

    When you are destitute, unable to pay off an overpayment, there is something called a waiver, which you can request from the state. It is for if you have no more eligibility for unemployment (which is not your case, it sounds like) and you are financially in such a shape that you have no way of paying off the overpayment. You can ask them about this.

    They are not going to take you to jail, put you in debtor's prison, or take your firstborn child. But you need to talk to them, as soon as possible, and work this out with the Michigan overpayment unit. Stress this was not intentional fraud, rather a misunderstanding between you and the Michigan employer.

    Last edited by commentator; 10-21-2009 at 09:53 AM.
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