Missourians wait for information regarding unemployment overpayment notice

Posted at 6:38 PM, Sep 24, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-24 19:47:27-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Missourians continue to wait for answers about an overpayment notice from the department of labor.

41 Action News first reported this in July.

Several people claiming unemployment benefits came to 41 Action News with their concerns about the notice, which says an overpayment happened due to an agency error.

Several Missourians say they haven't been able to get answers about what the agency error is, but they have started receiving notices of debt.

Jerome Marshall said he received the original notice in June and has since filed an appeal. Marshall hasn't received a date for an appeal hearing but has started receiving notices of debt.

"Everyday you go to the mailbox, what is it going to be, are they finally going to say something," Marshall said. "it's just really confusing and unfortunately disappointing that I would even have to go through this for something that was supposed to help me."

Jerome isnt' alone. 41 Action News spoke with nearly ten people who all received the same letter and all believe they weren't overpaid benefits. One of them is Alexis Thrailkill.

"I was so hysterical," Thrailkill said. "I said I can't pay that type of money, that's why I went through unemployment, I didn't have any money."

Thrailkill said she was approved for unemployment and doesn't understand how she could have been overpaid.

Thrailkill, Marshall and others say they are trying to file appeals but they haven't received much, or any, correspondence from the department.

"As a mom I do not have that time to wait on my phone for 160 minutes for someone to answer," Thrailkill said.

After pressing the department for answers, a spokesperson for the department told 41 Action News the Division of Employment Security won't actively pursue collections until the appeal decision is final.

Thrailkill and Marshall say that information isn't clear on the notice or on the notice of debt.

"I just want answers, I just want it over with," Marshall said.

A spokesperson denied our request for an interview and sent us this statement:

"Some overpayments are due to fraud, and others can happen because of omission or lack of knowledge of material fact that is later discovered. These determinations are made on a case by case basis."

"Individuals that receive such a letter are given a phone number to call for additional information about the determination and are also given the opportunity to appeal the determination if they believe that the reason for the overpayment determination is incorrect. If instead, they believe the overpayment determination is correct, they are given the opportunity to create a payment plan if they so choose. We cannot comment on an individual’s specific unemployment claim."