Overpayment notice causes stress, frustration among unemployed Missourians

Posted at 6:44 PM, Aug 05, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-05 19:46:26-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo.  — Some unemployed Missourians told 41 Action News they're being asked to pay back all of the benefits they've received during the pandemic.

41 Action News first reported this in July when several Missourians said they received a notice saying they had been overpaid due to agency error.

Those claimants said they have not received any more information about the error or been able to get answers since then.

Kansas City, Missouri, resident Jerome Marshall said he received the same notice in late June and has since filed an appeal. Marshall said he was let go from his job due to the pandemic.

"When I first saw it, I was devastated," Marshall said. "I thought I was being helped, and I feel like I was put in a worse position than I was before COVID hit."

Marshall said the state recently sent him details about a repayment plan and a minimum payment he is supposed to make every month. He worried he would be responsible for paying before his appeals process was completed.

41 Action News reached out to the Missouri Department of Labor about the repayment notices and was told the money will not be collected until the appeals process is completed.

A spokesperson said no one was available from the department to interview and sent the same statement 41 Action News received in July:

"Overpayments do occur in the unemployment process. Some overpayments are due to fraud, and others can happen because of omission or lack of knowledge of a material fact. This does not mean 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."

Marshall and other Missourians told 41 Action News they haven't been able to speak with anyone to find out more about the error to which the notice is referring.

Marshall said he is considering taking legal action if his appeals are denied.

"It's taking its toll on me because I don't know what's going to happen," Marshall said. "$5,000 is a lot of money to come up with considering I'm a part-time worker."