If you’ve received a letter from a PA UC Service Center informing about an overpayment, you may be wondering what you have to do. Do you have to pay this amount back? What if you don’t pay it back or can’t pay it back? Can they take you to court to collect it? Can they place a lien on your house? What if it was a mistake?
The key to what your rights, duties, and obligations are depend on whether the UC overpayment is considered fault or non-fault. What will usually occur is that you receive a letter from he Service Center stating that you were a recipient of an overpayment and the Service Center will ask that you repay this amount.
This letter will likely state whether or not the payment is considered fault or non-fault. Non-fault overpayments typically occur when you receive benefits initially and the employer wins following an appeal or when an employee mistakenly receives benefits and has not misrepresented or concealed material facts.
When an non-fault overpayment occurs and you don’t return the benefits you received, the overpayment will be deducted your future PA UC benefits. Additionally, the deduction cannot exceed 33% of your weekly benefits.
On the other hand, if the overpayment is considered a fault overpayment, you will have to repay the benefits received. If you do not pay the amount of the overpayment in full within 15 days, interest on the overpayment will begin to accrue. A lien can also be filed against you for the overpayment and the overpayment can also be deducted from future benefits. Additionally, stiff criminal penalties including fines of $1,000 and jail time of up to 30 days for each check obtained can be pursued if the receipt of UC benefits is considered fraudulent.
If you receive a Notice of Determination finding an overpayment, you can appeal this determination. However, you have only 15 days from the date the determination is mailed to file an appeal so you must act promptly to preserve your rights to an appeal. If you have a question regarding a UC overpayment issue in Pennsylvania or need to appeal an overpayment decision, please call us at (484) 362-9286 for help.
Zachary Zawarski is an unemployment compensation attorney located in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.