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Unemployed Missourians struggle for answers about overpayment notice

Posted at 7:30 PM, Aug 13, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-13 23:43:51-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Unemployed Missourians continue to receive letters saying they owe back all of the unemployment benefits they've received during the coronavirus pandemic.

Missourians came to 41 Action News last month with their concerns about the notices and the lack of communication from the Missouri Department of Labor.

The notices, which state a claimant was overpaid due to agency error, say the previous benefits paid to that person must be paid back to the department.

De Soto, Missouri, resident Ammie Province said her husband recently received the notice as well as a letter saying she needed to provide a payment schedule.

"It's so hard to try to figure out a schedule if you don't have income coming in at all," Province said. "This was just sprung on us."

Province said her husband filed for unemployment because he was out of work due to the pandemic. She doesn't understand how they could have been overpaid when they believed they qualified for the benefits.

Springfield, Missouri, resident Christine Headley received the notice Wednesday that she owed the department nearly $11,000 she received in benefits.

Headley said she was able to speak with someone from the department on the phone and was told her former employer filed a dispute against her unemployment claim in May.

"If they would have notified me properly even after the late dispute from my former employer I should have been given a proper heads up," Headley said.

Other Missourians 41 Action News talked to tell us they are still waiting on information about an appeal hearing and don't believe they were overpaid at any point.

In a statement to 41 Action News, a spokesperson for the Department of Labor said no money will be collected until the appeals process is complete.

The department also stated overpayment letters outline the reason for the possible overpayment and next steps, including how to file an appeal if the claimant believes the reason for overpayment was incorrect.

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