U.S. CitiesCity-Data Forum Index
Go Back   City-Data Forum > General Forums > Work and Employment > Unemployment
 [Register]
Please register to participate in our discussions with 1.5 million other members - it's free and quick! Some forums can only be seen by registered members. After you create your account, you'll be able to customize options and access all our 15,000 new posts/day with fewer ads.
Jump to a detailed profile or search
site with Google Custom Search

Search Forums  (Advanced)
Business Search - 14 Million verified businesses
Search for:  near: 
 
 
Old 05-21-2012, 11:12 AM
 
23 posts, read 86,472 times
Reputation: 14
Default PA Unemployment - Fault Overpayment Mixup? Help?

Hello all,

Long story short - I'd never filed for UC before. 2 years ago, I was working P/T for an employer trying to make ends meet. I was still filing UC for those weeks, but because I had no access to time-cards I had called the PA UC office for help....

...I must've gotten someone new, or something strange, because I got (what should have been obviously) bad advice on how to file. They said to file based on NET income (it was supposed to be GROSS), and that since I didn't have time cards to "estimate" my earnings, and they would figure it out on the back end.

I should've known better. But there I went.

2 years later, I've been fully employed for about 2 years, and now I start getting paperwork about this. They're basically stating that I knowingly entered false information and didn't report all my earnings. I wrote a letter stating the circumstances and that I was willing to try to make things right... but the determination is that based on this info, I forfeit everything and owe it all back.

So, on paper, I'm basically screwed. With that said, is there any point in appealing? It was a misunderstanding, and I do want to state that it wasn't like I was TRYING to be fraudulent in any way. I simply claim ignorance, and I'm sure I'm probably getting what was coming to me based on that ignorance, but would an appeal help to off-set that amount, or make it more reasonable and manageable? Also, would this affect my credit, or even start a criminal record on me?

TL;DR - I didn't enter my wages correctly (not purposely), PA UC says I owe it all back due to knowingly filing false amounts.
Quick reply to this message

 
Old 05-21-2012, 11:52 AM
 
Location: Wisconsin
13,486 posts, read 16,930,831 times
Reputation: 6144
This won't affect your credit rating unless you don't pay. The PA UE may file a lien in that event, which will appear on your credit report and affect your rating. You won't have a criminal record.

PA website (and the PA handbook) clearly states (took me 5 seconds to find this):
Quote:
Partial Benefit Credit - The amount equal to 40% of your weekly benefit rate is your partial benefit credit. If you are not working full time, you may earn up to this amount without reducing your benefits for the week. Earnings in excess of your partial benefit credit will be deducted from your benefits for the week. If you earn more than your weekly benefit rate plus your partial benefit credit, you will not be eligible for benefits. When reporting your earnings for a week for which you are claiming benefits, always give the gross amount earned during the week for which you are filing, regardless of when paid. When you file your benefit week claim, you will be asked to provide the amount you earned from all your employers for the week. All earnings must be reported.

Pamphlets
File an appeal on the basis of erroneous information received when you called, and keep appealing, because you believe you did not intentionally defraud the department. Best case, they will eventually accept this as a mistake of ignorance and ask for repayment of the actual overpayment, plus penalties.

PA will probably work with you on a repayment plan, whatever the final decision.
Quick reply to this message
 
Old 05-21-2012, 01:33 PM
 
23 posts, read 86,472 times
Reputation: 14
I plan on appealing this. Again, I have no problem paying back whatever the difference is, but to ask for the entire amount back will simply break me.

Perhaps most importantly, I don't want anything on any record saying I was trying to commit fraud to anyone.

Any other advice? Do such overpayment amounts ever get reduced at the discretion of the referee? Or is it a x+y=z scenario where it's cut in stone?
Quick reply to this message
 
Old 05-21-2012, 01:52 PM
 
Location: Wisconsin
13,486 posts, read 16,930,831 times
Reputation: 6144
Quote:
Originally Posted by pacomputerguy View Post
Any other advice? Do such overpayment amounts ever get reduced at the discretion of the referee? Or is it a x+y=z scenario where it's cut in stone?
The amount you owe is based on either a default judgment for the full amount (I am surprised PA hasn't assessed a penalty since they are claiming fraud), or the overpayment (plus possible penalties) as determined in appeal.

Either way, PA will also consider a hardship waiver for any part, or all, of the amount owed. You would need to apply for that. Not sure if they will inform you of that option voluntarily. So, a hardship waiver is a possibility in the event you can't get PA to budge on its original determination. Not saying you will get the waiver, just that that avenue is another option for you.
Quick reply to this message
 
Old 05-21-2012, 01:59 PM
 
23 posts, read 86,472 times
Reputation: 14
Any idea how to apply for said waiver?

Also I received several determinations. One was to note that the reported earnings vs correct earnings was inaccurate and that the weeks were thereby disapproved. Another notes the same, but this time says (and I quote, the Caps are included in the quote, not by me for emphasis) "This is a FAULT overpayment because: YOU INTENTIONALLY PROVIDED FALSE INFORMATION TO THE BUREAU." Later in the fine print it mentions that it's a Section 804(a) Fault Overpayment, and may involve "administrative and/or criminal penalties." Hence why I'm shaking here for what seems to me like an unintentional mistake being blown up into an argument for fraud.

A final note has a determination that, due to the above, I'm penalized for 11 weeks of benefits to which I would otherwise be entitled during the four-year period following the BYE date of the claim. I'm assuming that's the big slap of the penalty.

Thoughts? You've been very kind and helpful, and I realize I come off in all of this as an ignorant bumpkin, so thank you in advance for being considerate with your insight.
Quick reply to this message
 
Old 05-21-2012, 02:43 PM
 
Location: Wisconsin
13,486 posts, read 16,930,831 times
Reputation: 6144
Quote:
Originally Posted by pacomputerguy View Post
Any idea how to apply for said waiver?
You are clearly an intelligent person. It will be hard to argue ignorance, but go ahead and try because you do want to get the "fraud" off your record if you can.

When all your appeals have been exhausted, PA will make a demand for payment, at which time you contact them by phone or letter, requesting an application for a hardship waiver.

If the waiver is granted, well and good. If not, you make payment arrangements. If you don't pay, they may or may not pursue it by filing a lien/garnishment of wages. You will find out in due time. Each case is different. They don't pursue every one.

How much do they say you owe?
Quick reply to this message
 
Old 05-21-2012, 03:29 PM
 
5 posts, read 17,248 times
Reputation: 13
Hi pacomputerguy,

I'm sorry to hear you are having so many problems. Having dealt with PA UC several dozens of times over the last couple of years, I know that they often take notes on your calls and sometimes even record them. In fact, if you were first filing over the phone, there should be records of who you spoke with and when. As far as I know, these representatives add a summary of your conversation to your computerized file every time you talk. They used to be able to "recall" things I'd said months ago, right down to the date and time.

While I strongly suggest that you retain an attorney, I realize this may not be possible--although perhaps you could contact Legal Aid.

At the very least, subpoena all of your records, computerized or otherwise which could reasonably be calculated to discover the identities of representatives with whom you dealt [between the dates of __ and ___], as well as any and all notes, summaries, recordings and discussions you may have had with said representatives involving your case. This subpoena should include a request for any and all information about gross and net income which may be reasonably calculated to lead to the discovery of any excupatory evidence on your behalf.

I would be careful about telling them that it's your fault or anything else that they might later use against you. While I understand that they have a lot of discretion as far as granting waivers and hope that you receive one, if they move forward, you need to proceed with caution. Don't make it easy for them unless you feel you actually owe the money and can afford it. Also, keep in mind that you can offer to pay in exchange for them willing to drop any reference to fraud or wrongdoing.

I hope this helps and wish you the best!
Quick reply to this message
 
Old 05-21-2012, 03:43 PM
 
3,508 posts, read 3,884,824 times
Reputation: 718
In AZ, overpayment waivers are only available in nonfraud, nofault overpayments. If PA operates the same, a waiver will not be available to you. You have to put all your effort into converting this into a nonfraud overpayment or you'll be on the hook for it all.
Quick reply to this message
 
Old 05-21-2012, 04:58 PM
 
Location: California
4,404 posts, read 4,790,648 times
Reputation: 2988
In PA, I found this:

What are Pennsylvania's unemployment fraud penalties

The legal definition of fraud:

A false representation of a matter of fact—whether by words or by conduct, by false or misleading allegations, or by concealment of what should have been disclosed—that deceives and is intended to deceive another so that the individual will act upon it to her or his legal injury


The legal elements of fraud are:

Fraud must be proved by showing that the defendant's actions involved five separate elements: (1) a false statement of a material fact,(2) knowledge on the part of the defendant that the statement is untrue, (3) intent on the part of the defendant to deceive the alleged victim, (4) justifiable reliance by the alleged victim on the statement, and (5) injury to the alleged victim as a result.

Fraud is an intent crime, you have to have INTENDED to commit fraud. No intent=no legal fraud. (as an aside, this is the area of the law that gives lawyers such a bad name, proving intent can be hard and is often the unproven element of crimes)

1. Happened. Gross v. Net.
2. This you can argue....you did NOT know you were committing fraud, that you were answering questions on the form in a way that was "untrue".
3. You called and asked the correct thing to do because there was a question. Shows no intent to deceive. This one could get sticky when they ask if it ever occurred to you that the answer seemed off. Questioning of information can sometimes be stretched to intent, especially if you admit at any point that somethng seemed off.
4. PA relied on your statements in determining the claim amount.
5. Injury. Yes. PA paid you more that you were entitled.

Run with 2. argue that you HAD NO INTENT...and keep saying it. Find different ways to support your stance. You called, no intent. You were concerned in the first place, no intent. Kind of like the phone interview when they are trying to find Gross Misconduct and you just keep saying that you liked your job and were DOING THE BEST YOU COULD.

In order to prove legal fraud, even in unemployment hearings, the level of legal proof is still there, just less formally (sometimes) than in a formal court. But if you know what you need to prove, or disprove and argue the ever living heck out of the parts you can beat, you may survive...at least the intentional fraud part. The legal level of proof to find fraud is that you must find ALL 5 elements were present. So, if you can win on one of the elements (prove it didn't happen in a way consistent with legal fraud) you should prevail.

Last edited by thebunny; 05-21-2012 at 05:11 PM..
Quick reply to this message
 
Old 05-22-2012, 06:33 AM
 
23 posts, read 86,472 times
Reputation: 14
Thanks for all the advice. To Ariadne22, the amount rings up to $4050 total. Worst case they can get me on a payment plan... but $4k's a lot, I'm getting married this fall and trying to get a house next spring... this would definitely put a crimp in things.

ExhaustedinPA - Thanks for the advice, I tried that and they can't even pull up records of when I called unless specific paperwork action was taken. I filed everything online, so I think I'm unfortunately at a dead end with that.

thebunny - Ever heard of a case getting overturned because of this? My only platform was that "I didn't know what I was doing, and got inaccurate directions when I asked the UC Office." Somehow I see the referee saying "Well, that's YOUR problem because it's YOUR responsibility."

I'm not trying to get out of paying anything, I understand that there was a mishap that's resulting in a lot of money being asked for in restitution, and I get that there is obviously a gap here, SOMETHING is owed back to the state of PA. I'm just trying to do the right thing. What's most important to me here is in clearing my name of anything "fraudulent" and just as a bonus hoping that the amount can get reduced because of that.
Quick reply to this message
Please register to post and access all features of our very popular forum. It is free and quick. Over $68,000 in prizes has already been given out to active posters on our forum. Additional giveaways are planned.

Detailed information about all U.S. cities, counties, and zip codes on our site: City-data.com.


 
Please update this thread with any new information or opinions. This open thread is still read by thousands of people, so we encourage all additional points of view.

Quick Reply
Message:
Over $79,000 in prizes was already given out to active posters on our forum and additional giveaways are planned!

Go Back   City-Data Forum > General Forums > Work and Employment > Unemployment
Similar Threads

All times are GMT -6.

2005-2014, Advameg, Inc.

City-Data.com - Archive 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25 - Top