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Old 03-04-2012, 11:36 AM
 
7 posts, read 52,758 times
Reputation: 13
Unhappy Pennsylvania Unemployment Compensation Overpayment HELP??

Hello,

I am a 20 year old college student. I filed for unemployment at the end of August 2011 because I was laid off from my normal job. I was able to get a federal work study job with my college because of my financial need. When I got the job and filed for unemployment I called to complete my application for unemployment which was approved. I asked the gentleman on the phone about how to report my federal work study earnings to them when I file my biweekly claims (the college pays us on the tenth of each month so I was confused since I had to report every 2 weeks) and he said to go to the payroll/business department of the college and see if they even require me to report it. SO I did what he said and went to our payroll office and asked. The response was "No. You don't need to report it. We don't pay anything into unemployment for student, work study workers so therefore you do not report it." So I did what she said and did not report it.

I have not been called back to work yet, though they tell me it will be soon. So I called about a temporary extension for a up to a month until I go back to work. He started the process and then asked about my part time job at the college. I told him I didn't report it because the school (who I was directed to by the UC customer service department on the phone to ask) told me not to. He then said I should have been reporting it and that a lot of people get confused about reporting wages for federal work study because the college and some representatives don't think they have to be reported but they need to be. He then told me that he would request the payroll information from the college, submit it and they would determine how much, if anything needed repaid due to overpayment.'

I am at a loss over this. I know it is my fault technically for not knowing that I needed to report it, but the school told me not to, so I did what they told me to do.

I read over the information on determining overpayments on the PA UC website and some things I noticed that might be in my favor are the following:

A COA Error is considered when an individual:

*Does not intentionally withhold information
*Individual was not able to understand the responsibility of UC benefits due to psychiatric disability
I am bipolar NOS, Generalized/Social Anxiety, ADHD non-hyperactivity.

I haven't received notice of anything official yet, just what we spoke about on the phone, but if I do get hit with an overpayment, is there any chance I would qualify for some kind of waiver? It was not my intention to not report those wages. I thought that going to the payroll department of the college as directed would tell me what to do, and when I was told not to report it, I didn't. I am a college student, so I really don't have a ton of money to just pay an overpayment back :'(
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Old 03-04-2012, 12:01 PM
 
Location: Wisconsin
13,627 posts, read 17,264,553 times
Reputation: 6308
When and if PA requests its money back, you will need to plead your case citing misinformation as you've described above, that you did not intentionally withhold information. PA does grant financial hardship waivers, as well. You may need to appeal an overpayment decision more than once if PA is not sympathetic initially. Do not give up.

In future, verify with several sources before moving forward on any advice - especially if it appears questionable. Even if it's the answer you want to hear.
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Old 03-05-2012, 12:56 PM
 
7 posts, read 52,758 times
Reputation: 13
It didn't appear questionable to me because my understanding was work study was money earned that was meant to go towards tuition/school fees and thus I didn't need to report FWS income. Now that I know this though I would have reported it. It was definitely not my intention to withhold any information.

My mom and dad are telling me that they might not make me pay it back out of pocket but will probably just take it out of any future benefits I might qualify for if I reapply for benefits in the future. Is this true?
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Old 03-05-2012, 01:00 PM
 
Location: Wisconsin
13,627 posts, read 17,264,553 times
Reputation: 6308
Yes, you should able to arrange an installment repayment with PA whereby future benefits are reduced until the overpayment has been satisfied.
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Old 03-05-2012, 05:44 PM
 
7 posts, read 52,758 times
Reputation: 13
I emailed my human resources department at the college to inform them of the mistake so that other students can avoid my mistake but they say that there is no mistake:

"I have researched your information. You will not have to pay anything to the state. I have a form to complete with your information next week and will send it to the Unemployment Field Office. Your Federal Workstudy wages are not considered for Unemployment purposes."

So we will see what happens I guess...
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Old 03-05-2012, 07:39 PM
 
72 posts, read 151,049 times
Reputation: 89
I am very curious to know the result of this. Please do update us when you get an official response. But in the meantime, if at all possible, ask your HR to send you the link to the information that was researched. Maybe your HR made an interpretation error....or not. We would love to pick this one apart!
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Old 03-06-2012, 02:40 PM
 
7 posts, read 52,758 times
Reputation: 13
I am not sure where she got the information. she said she would be in contact with me if there is any updates on this.
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Old 03-24-2012, 07:07 PM
 
7 posts, read 52,758 times
Reputation: 13
Okay. Sorry that I have taken so long to make an update on this.

The school emailed me and said she talked to a "Field Officer" at the UC office and he said that federal work study wages did not need to be reported. The a week later she emailed me back and sent me a link to the UC website for student workers. She told me this is where it said I didn't need to report my wages and that she was filling out a form to send in to get it all taken care of.

Then a week after that she emails me and says that she misunderstood what they were saying and it turns out the college does NOT have to report the wages to the UC office but I am to report them.

I am so confused at this point. I won't ever file for UC benefits again, it is too confusing when I am told one thing by someone and another by someone else.

So now I have a few questions:

1. Instead of me paying it back out of pocket can I have it deducted from future benefits I could receive... I read this under their websites law sectons:

"Section 804. Recovery and Recoupment of Compensation.

(a) Any person who by reason of his fault has received any sum as compensation under this act to which he was not entitled, shall be liable to repay to the Unemployment Compensation Fund to the credit of the Compensation Account a sum equal to the amount so received by him and interest at the rate determined by the Secretary of Revenue as provided by section 806 of the act of April 9, 1929 (P.L.343, No.176), known as "The Fiscal Code," per month or fraction of a month from fifteen (15) days after the Notice of Overpayment was issued until paid. Such sum shall be collectible (1) in the manner provided in section 308.1 or section 309 of this act, for the collection of past due contributions, or (2) by deduction from any future compensation payable to the claimant under this act: Provided, That interest assessed under this section cannot be recouped by deduction from any future compensation payable to the claimant under this act: Provided further, That no administrative or legal proceedings for the collection of such sum shall be instituted after the expiration of six years following the end of the benefit year with respect to which such sum was paid. ((a) amended Oct. 19, 1988, P.L.818, No.109)"

I am assuming where it says: "(2) by deduction from any future compensation payable to the claimant under this act" that it means if I have an overpayment that to repay it they can reduce future benefits if/when I am eligible to receive them.

2. If that is not correct, then how do I repay it? I don't have a lot of money. I know someone said PA offers a hardship waiver or a waiver if I prove it wouldn't be fair/equitable to make me pay it back. How do I prove either of these to get a waiver? What must I provide?

3. Can I be put in jail for this? I really don't want to go to jail over this silly mistake. I honestly didn't mean to misrepresent or lie about my wages, I was told to not report them so I didn't but if I would have known I was doing something wrong at the time I would have fixed it immediately rather than waiting until now.

Thanks.
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Old 03-24-2012, 07:25 PM
 
7 posts, read 52,758 times
Reputation: 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by hallja View Post
Okay. Sorry that I have taken so long to make an update on this.

The school emailed me and said she talked to a "Field Officer" at the UC office and he said that federal work study wages did not need to be reported. The a week later she emailed me back and sent me a link to the UC website for student workers. She told me this is where it said I didn't need to report my wages and that she was filling out a form to send in to get it all taken care of.

Then a week after that she emails me and says that she misunderstood what they were saying and it turns out the college does NOT have to report the wages to the UC office but I am to report them.

I am so confused at this point. I won't ever file for UC benefits again, it is too confusing when I am told one thing by someone and another by someone else.

So now I have a few questions:

1. Instead of me paying it back out of pocket can I have it deducted from future benefits I could receive... I read this under their websites law sectons:

"Section 804. Recovery and Recoupment of Compensation.

(a) Any person who by reason of his fault has received any sum as compensation under this act to which he was not entitled, shall be liable to repay to the Unemployment Compensation Fund to the credit of the Compensation Account a sum equal to the amount so received by him and interest at the rate determined by the Secretary of Revenue as provided by section 806 of the act of April 9, 1929 (P.L.343, No.176), known as "The Fiscal Code," per month or fraction of a month from fifteen (15) days after the Notice of Overpayment was issued until paid. Such sum shall be collectible (1) in the manner provided in section 308.1 or section 309 of this act, for the collection of past due contributions, or (2) by deduction from any future compensation payable to the claimant under this act: Provided, That interest assessed under this section cannot be recouped by deduction from any future compensation payable to the claimant under this act: Provided further, That no administrative or legal proceedings for the collection of such sum shall be instituted after the expiration of six years following the end of the benefit year with respect to which such sum was paid. ((a) amended Oct. 19, 1988, P.L.818, No.109)"

I am assuming where it says: "(2) by deduction from any future compensation payable to the claimant under this act" that it means if I have an overpayment that to repay it they can reduce future benefits if/when I am eligible to receive them.

2. If that is not correct, then how do I repay it? I don't have a lot of money. I know someone said PA offers a hardship waiver or a waiver if I prove it wouldn't be fair/equitable to make me pay it back. How do I prove either of these to get a waiver? What must I provide?

3. Can I be put in jail for this? I really don't want to go to jail over this silly mistake. I honestly didn't mean to misrepresent or lie about my wages, I was told to not report them so I didn't but if I would have known I was doing something wrong at the time I would have fixed it immediately rather than waiting until now.

Thanks.
Note: I think that 308.1 and 309 in the law thing I quoted are for employers and not claimants.
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Old 03-29-2012, 06:59 AM
 
1 posts, read 7,146 times
Reputation: 10
Is there a number u can contact the overpayment department
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