JEFFERSON CITY, MO – If you were overpaid unemployment benefits, you might not have to worry about paying a portion of it back.
The Missouri Labor Department says is you apply for a waiver, you’ll get to keep the federal portion of your overpaid unemployment benefits, but not the state overpayment because Missouri law doesn’t allow it.
Democratic lawmakers sat the governor can change that.
“We use that money for our mortgages, for our car payments, for groceries.” Says Cindy.
More than 46,000 Missourians were overpaid unemployment benefits during the pandemic.
“These are working families, these are people who did nothing wrong.” Says Bosley (D).
The state has asked those overpaid to return the money.
“About six months later, all these overpayment letters started coming and threatening letters, we’re going to garnish your wages, we’re going to put a lien on your property.” Says Cindy.
Cindy Knittig, a bus driver in the St. Louis area, got a $2400 bill.
“For the governor to expect us to pay all this money back is morally and ethically wrong.” Says Cindy.
Amy Minich had her wages garnished.
“Didn’t ask, didn’t know, I got a letter after the fact so they’re already taking the money away from me.” Says Minich.
Missouri’s Labor Department reports the average person owes $4000, totaling around $150,000,000.
“Right now during this crisis these folks need that money in their pocket to keep a roof over their head, money also helps keeps Missouri’s economy rolling forward.” Says Clemens (D).
To avoid repaying the federal portion, which makes up about 75% of overpayments, people must apply after they receive a repayment letter.
“I think we are still going to work on the state portion of that, we’ve talked about that several times
if it was legitimate mistake we’re fine with that, but if there’s anything besides that, you’re not going to get a blanket waiver.” Says Parson.
Collections on the state portion start in August.
“The stress that it causes on all these families and I’m just one person, I’m one of 46 thousand.” Says Minich.
During session, lawmakers on both sides of the aisle passed a budget allowing $48,000,000 of cares act money to pay for the state portion.
House democrats are sending a letter to the governor calling on him to also waive overpayments from the state, since he didn’t veto that line item from the budget.