Some states overpaid coronavirus unemployment insurance. Now workers will have to repay the benefits

Hundreds of thousands of workers who received unemployment benefits through the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program are on the hook to repay some of the money they’ve received since March.

News Story (NATIONAL)

Alicia Adamczyk
October 7, 2020

Tags: COVID-19, Unemployment, Unemployment Insurance

Organizations mentioned/involved: National Employment Law Project (NY)


Workers will likely have no idea that they were overpaid until they receive a notice from the state. State unemployment insurance equations are opaque, and because some workers waited weeks and even months to receive benefits, they might believe a large check simply included all of the backpay they were owed.

States can typically waive repayments of most unemployment insurance. But the PUA program, which was established to extend benefits to gig workers, contractors and others who typically don’t qualify for unemployment insurance under the CARES Act, is administered differently than other types of UI, Michele Evermore, senior policy analyst for the National Employment Law Project, tells CNBC Make It. Overpayments will need to be refunded.

“I think it was just an oversight because [the CARES Act] was written in a week or two,” Evermore says. Still, “people are going to wake up to a bill for six months of PUA at some point.”