The Idaho Department of Labor says it has started to withhold federal unemployment insurance benefits from people who’ve been overpaid.
Department spokesman Bob Fick says the agency had been collecting overpayments by withholding half of a jobless person’s weekly benefit payment, now the department is able to withhold the entire benefit.
“These overpayments result from adjustments to total wages a worker earned before being laid off, miscalculation of benefit amounts due to the complexity of the extended benefit process or failure of claimants to report intermittent earnings while unemployed.” – Idaho Dept. of Labor
Fick says the department has overpaid jobless workers an estimated $6.8 million in federal extended benefits. He doesn’t think the entire amount will be recovered. Some of that overpayment can be attributed to fraudulent claimants, or a miscalculation by the Department of Labor.
Fick says miscalculations aren’t uncommon. He points to the evolving federal jobless benefit programs, which have changed frequently over the last decade. “Our 30 year old computer is pushed to its limits trying to keep up – eventually we figure it out,” he says.
“Since the extended benefit program began in mid-2008, more than 200,000 Idaho workers have received over $864 million in federally financed payments. At the peak of the recession in late 2009, nearly 27,000 workers had exhausted their regular state benefits of 10 to 26 weeks and were receiving federal extended benefits. Today fewer than 8,600 are receiving extended benefits.” – Idaho Dept. of Labor