Some unemployed Americans are being asked to return their unemployed benefits months after receiving the money.
An investigation by CBS affiliate KMOV4 in St. Louis found Missouri officials are asking thousands of unemployment recipients to give back weekly state payments or face potential consequences. Authorities say they wrongly paid tens of thousands of people, tens of millions of dollars from taxpayers.
Janida Recker, a single mom in Bridgeton, is one of several Missourians to receive notice, which in her case arrived just before Christmas last year. According to KMOV4, a state letter informed Rieker that he had to pay the unemployment money he received between March and August because it called an error or omission on its part.
“I finished the paperwork and I sent it to him. I don’t know where I erased, but if I did wrong, why didn’t you contact me?” Ryker said.
Mississippi residents such as Riker are not the only Americans in America who have been asked by their state’s unemployment offices to return unemployed aid after being accidentally overpaid. In Ohio, officials said more than 160,000 last yearThrough its regular unemployment claims in August and September, as well as Epidemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA), a federal program designed to help self-employed workers and others who are generally eligible for unemployed benefits Are not.
States are either asking the recipient to return the money or subtracting funds from their ongoing unemployment checks, adding to the financial stress of being unemployed during the epidemic.
In some cases, the overpayment was due to claimants misrepresenting their income, but errors from employees and computers at the state Labor Department also played a role. For example, in Pennsylvania, a seller processed fake payments, resulting in a lot of money to aid recipients.
“It’s on the state”
Missouri Senator Brian Williams, who represents Reecker’s district, said he wants more answers from the Missouri Department of Labor. “If the state spends more on someone, then it is on the state, not on the individual,” Williams said.
After being contacted by KMOV4, a spokesman for the Missouri Department of Labor sent a statement, “If the person does not agree [the department’s] Judgment regarding overpayment or it is wrong, they can file an appeal. ”
Soon after, state officials called Richter to tell him not to return the money.
The state said in a statement to KMOV4 that it is “in accordance with federal guidance, to ensure that the beneficiaries are entitled to those payments and when we detect fraud, errors or omissions that are claimed by the claimants If they were made, they collect the overpayment. Receiving money for which they were not entitled. “