Texas Tries to Recoup Unemployment After Overpaying Texans

July 8, 2020

The Texas Workforce Commission, an agency that oversees unemployment benefits, estimates that it overpaid by $32 million, the Houston Chronicle reported Monday.

The commission has sent 46,000 notices to people, saying they were overpaid or ineligible to receive benefits. 

Elizabeth Vargas received employment benefits after being furloughed. In her application, she noted that she was receiving a $200 weekly stipend from work. But the state agency interpreted the stipend as severance pay, making her ineligible for any benefits.

Vargas is now expected to pay back more than $600 — money that she has already spent. But Jeff Larsen, an attorney at Lone Star Legal Aid, said Vargas should be eligible due to lost wages.

Any claimants overpaid by the state can request waivers from repaying federal benefits provided under the CARES Act stimulus package. The commission also noted that it is not deducting overpayments from claimants’ benefits during the pandemic.

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