Some New Yorkers are being asked to pay back unemployment benefits

The New York State Labor Department is asking some New Yorkers to return unemployment benefits they received last year that they weren't entitled to because the state overpaid them.

Posted: Apr 22, 2021 6:31 PM

Utica, N.Y. - Some New Yorkers are receiving a 'Notice of Determination' from the New York State Labor Department. That notice determined that they need to pay back some unemployment benefits they received more than a year ago that they weren't entitled to.

The Department of Labor Tweeted out this past week the following : "In April and May of 2020, a small portion of claimants received duplicate payments as NYS DOL worked to get New Yorkers their benefits as quickly as possible. Under federal law, NYS DOL is required to recover any overpaid funds."

We here at News Channel 2 have received an email from a local man who shared his Notice of Determination with us dated April 16th, 2021. He does not want to be identified.

Another of those New Yorkers who received a Notice of Determination this past week is Lisa Wickline, a self-employed massage therapist in the Watertown area.

Wickline told our sister station in Watertown, WWNY, that she had no idea she was 'overpayed', "For all of us, that was income that was due to us.  That’s what we used to pay our bills that we were behind on. I had no idea that was money that wasn’t supposed to come to me."

Senator Joe Griffo of Rome says he believes there are some New Yorkers who should pay that money back, and some who shouldn't, "The letters are a concern and I think the burden of proof should be on the State of New York to prove that there may have been an overpayment. First we had a problem with access to the system, then we had a problem with identity theft, and now we’re having an overpayment issue, so the burden of proof rests with the state. Now in some cases I think people may have not gotten determinations and didn’t know any differently and they shouldn’t bear that burden because it's their first time entrance into the system during a very challenging time. To be self-employed, people never had access to unemployment before. Others, who may have been told what they were getting and then got extra money and never acknowledged it, that’s a different problem. But again the burden of proof, in my opinion, is on the State of New York."

If you received one of these letters, you can pay the amount, or if you want to dispute it, you can either fill out a waiver claiming financial hardship, or request a hearing. To fill out a waiver or request a hearing, you must do so within 30 days of the mailing date on your letter.

For more information on how to respond, head to the following NYS DOL page : http://on.ny.gov/nod

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