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Lawmakers consider bills on mistaken unemployment payments

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Posted at 10:47 AM, Feb 11, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-11 11:47:34-05

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — State lawmakers are considering several bills that would allow Missourians to keep unemployment benefits they were given, if they did not intentionally commit fraud.

The House Special Committee on Government Oversight on Wednesday heard seven proposals on the issue. The committee chairman said the bills will be combined into one proposal and the committee will likely vote on it early next week.

The discussion comes after Gov. Mike Parson has said people should "most certainly" be required to return payments they mistakenly received.

Most of the proposals focused on unemployment funds from the federal government because national stimulus packages allow states to waive repayment. Lawmakers said 75-80% of the overpayments are federal funds.

No committee members or witnesses objected to the idea, The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported.

Several options were discussed on how to recoup the 20-25% of the payments that are from state funds. One bill would prohibit the state from collecting the funds, while other committee members suggested the state could cover the cost of repayment, or use federal CARES money to reduce the economic loss for the state.