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WA residents hit with overpayment notices for unemployment

A stack of unemployment forms. (Getty Images)

Many people have been experiencing trouble getting their unemployment checks, with some finally arriving after a wait. But thousands also received overpayment notices for claims that have been approved, and are in no position to pay them back.

Employment Security Department Commissioner Suzy LeVine told KIRO 7 TV that those who have received these notices were part of a group on federal PUA (Pandemic Unemployment Assistance) benefits who might actually qualify for regular state unemployment instead, with more info needed by the ESD. They’re advised to file for appeal.

“Go to Nigeria if you want to find your money or if you need a loan,” KIRO Radio’s John Curley joked, referencing the millions lost by the ESD to fraud.

“You can imagine the kind of heart attack you’d get if you’ve been getting unemployment benefits and something said, ‘Hey, we need that stuff back,'” added co-host Tom Tangney. “It’s a bureaucratic kind of snafu because you’re not supposed to get the fed’s money if you’ve got the state to cover it.”

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“My hunch is that whatever you got from the feds will probably be covered by the state,” he added. “You need to take that money and give it back to the feds, and then the state will compensate.”

One resident named Blake Whitmore received a bill for more than $14,000 after missing an account notice requesting more information. According to KIRO 7 TV, those impacted — which appears to be upwards of 26,000 people — only had five days to respond to the ESD’s request to get more info and switch over the claim. The ESD said they will pausing the overpayment notices until the process is improved.

Listen to the Tom and Curley Show weekdays from 3 – 7 p.m. on KIRO Radio, 97.3 FM. Subscribe to the podcast here.

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