KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Some Missourians receiving unemployment benefits are being told they have to pay back everything they've received since being laid off due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Gladstone resident Nicole Ash said she was laid off from her job due to the coronavirus pandemic and has been receiving unemployment benefits. Ash received a letter Thursday stating she had been overpaid benefits as a result of an agency error.
"It says I got overpaid $7,100," Ash said. "It's just kind of stressful to hope that I won't have to pay that back and even then I won't know how I'm supposed to."
Gladstone resident Misty McCorkle said she was laid off due to the pandemic as well and received the same notification on her official account on the Missouri Department of Labor's website.
"I did everything right and then all of a sudden through no fault of my own I owe them almost $6,000,"McCorkle said.
McCorkle said she's been sure to file her weekly claims correctly and claim wages she's made since she started working part-time.
"It's a lot of stress, a lot of stress, especially like how am I going to pay this money back to them are they going to garnish my wages, am I going to have to make payments all the time," McCorkle said.
Gladstone resident Madison Mead also received the notice on her official account with the department.
"I don't want to get charged with fraud or something," Mead said. "I called my grandpa and started crying, called my mom and was like what do I do, I don't even know what's going on."
All three claimants tell 41 Action News they are working on filing appeals but worry the problem might not get resolved. They've called the Department of Labor but haven't been able to speak with anyone about the notice.
"I really want to talk to somebody and find out why I owe this money if it was through no fault of my own," McCorkle said.
41 Action News reached out to the Missouri Department of Labor about this, and we received this email from a spokesperson:
"Overpayments do occur in the unemployment process. Some overpayments are due to fraud, and others, as the letter states, can happen because of omission or lack of knowledge of material fact. This letter does not state that the individual did something wrong. Individuals are given the opportunity to appeal the determination if they believe that the reason for the overpayment is incorrect."