Unemployment Insurance Program

Waive pandemic overpayments thru no fault of the workers

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In the early days of the pandemic when unemployment spiked, states rightly focused on getting payments to workers quickly. Now, many states are reviewing past claims and some workers have been required to pay back tens of thousands of dollars they do not have. Current guidance from the DOL already allows states to waive repayment of benefits if the state determines that: i) the overpayment was without fault on the part of the individual and ii) that repayment would be contrary to equity and good conscience. Unfortunately, some states have loosely interpreted or ignored this guidance. In some states, overpayment waivers are not readily available to workers and the waiver process is burdensome and difficult. As workers continue to grapple with the ongoing devastating impacts of the health and economic crisis, the Department of Labor should guide state agencies toward greater forgiveness of overpayments and an easier process for workers to seek forgiveness.

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Idea No. 195