Failing to return unemployment overpayment benefits can result in consequences

Published: Oct. 18, 2021 at 6:49 PM CDT
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - More and more Mississippians are finding that they must repay unemployment benefits, some totaling several thousand dollars.

The Mississippi Department of Employment Security reports that tens of thousands of residents received too much in payments. There are consequences if you were found ineligible for the benefits.

“I’m probably not the only person that’s going through this experience,” said Rev. Herb Anderson.

The Jackson resident is one of more than 92,000 residents who the Mississippi Department of Employment Security says was overpaid unemployment benefits. The former broadcaster was laid off from his part-time job in 2020. After filing for unemployment he began receiving monthly payments.

MDES officials said many claimants were determined ineligible after initially qualifying.

If you receive that notice, the agency says failure to repay in full could result in collection by warrant/issuing a lien, garnishment of future wages and possible interception of the claimants state and or federal income tax refund.

Several residents have complained of demands for repayment ranging from $7,000 to nearly $10,000. Anderson’s was over $9,700.

“At what point during the year did I become unqualified, all of a sudden out of the clear blue sky?” said Anderson. “It seems to be something wrong with this entire process.”

If you receive notification that you owe, you may enter a repayment plan refunding a minimum payment of $150 per month until the debt is satisfied.

According to MDES, no warrants for collection will be issued until the claimant has exhausted appeal rights or failed to avail themselves of administrative remedies associated with the debt.

The agency issued unemployment to an estimated 382,000 from March of 2020 to September 2021.

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