I Was Furloughed and Got Too Many Unemployment Payments

June 9, 2020

While millions of Americans haven't gotten unemployment payments, some people have the opposite problem: The government is sending us too many checks or direct deposits, money that we're required to return.

It hasn’t been as easy for people to return the money, and some people didn’t even know they were overpaid until their state alerted them.

For those who received an overpayment, don’t spend the money and hold onto the extra payment, experts advise. Contact your state unemployment office and wait for them to notify you by mail on how to pay the money back, they said.

If it’s an accident, it's technically not fraud and you could potentially fight it to keep the money. It could be difficult and costly if you need a lawyer, she added, and it eventually catches up with you, said Laurie Yadoff, an attorney at Coast to Coast Legal Aid of South Florida.

If you need jobless benefits later, the government may withhold that from you to pay back what you owe.

“I wouldn’t be surprised to see more overpayments in the future. Generally, people get the benefit of the doubt. If it wasn't your fault, it could be waived or you may have to pay it back in installments," says Yadoff.

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