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Dimitry K., Esq.
Dimitry K., Esq., Attorney
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 41221
Experience:  I provide employment and discrimination law advice in my own practice.
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I live and work in Georgia, USA. I was separated from my job

Customer Question

I live and work in Georgia, USA. I was separated from my job February 28, 2014. Now the GA DOL has a fraud case against me and is trying to force me to repay benefits for the 3 weeks I was out of work. My separation notice is dated 2-28-14 and states "no severance". I received benefits for week 3-1-14, 3-8-14, and 3-15-14. I lost my first appeal because I was unprepared. I did not know I was going to be on the phone with a prosecutor. I have to appeal for cause by next week or repay. How do I sort this out?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Employment Law
Expert:  Dimitry K., Esq. replied 1 year ago.

Thank you for your question. Please permit me to assist you with your concerns.

Based on your facts it does appear that you were overpaid. Under Georgia law you are only entitled to benefits a week after termination, so the fact that you were terminated on 2/28 would mean that at least for the first week of March you were not yet eligible for benefits. The best defense here is lack of knowledge and an offer to repay that first week but keep the funds for the other weeks if you can show that you were eligible for work, were looking for work, and were attempting, in good faith, to be available for employment. So I would urge a partial apology and an offer to partially repay which should resolve this otherwise.

Sincerely,

Dimitry, Esq.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I am fine with that but how do I show this,"show that you were eligible for work, were looking for work, and were attempting, in good faith, to be available for employment"?Furthermore when I went to the DOL office and was interviewed why didn't anyone tell me that I had to wait a week to be eligible for benefits?
Expert:  Dimitry K., Esq. replied 1 year ago.

Hi,

DOL is generally not your attorney, so they do not have to advise you. I agree that I am surprised that they did not so inform you, but most agencies believe that the obligation to learn the regulations is on you, and they are even barred in many instances from advising you (it is seen as 'practicing law without a license'). Now, as far as showing it, see if you can find past searches online, resumes that you sent out, and other actions that show that you were not on vacation somewhere, or moonlighting at a different locale for work.

Sincerely,

Dimitry, Esq.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
since the DOL is saying I committed fraud is this a crime?
I did my weekly check in's and listed the jobs I had applied for on the DOL web site don't they have that?
Expert:  Dimitry K., Esq. replied 1 year ago.

Hello,

​Fraud is a crime, and is a potential criminal felony with possible restitution and jail time. You can ask exactly what they believe to be fraudulent as far as receiving the payments so that you can address it, although I suspect that they believe you got overpaid due to not being eligible early enough.

Sincerely,

Dimitry, Esq.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Ok, the DOL is saying that I was paid by my former employer for the three weeks in question. They have said nothing about not being eligible for a week. I spoke with my former employer and accounting says that they show I was not paid after my separation date. They did give me a check for vacation time earned but no salary. If I get a signed letter from my former employer stating all of this will that be enough?
Expert:  Dimitry K., Esq. replied 1 year ago.

Hi,

That is fantastic news. Get that letter from the employer, show that the payment you received was for past benefits, not subsequent earnings or for severance, and have that letter be notarized (if possible) so that it can be treated as a formal affidavit by the investigator. That should be sufficient because it appears that they were treating the vacation payments as additional compensation rather than simply funds you were entitled to receive and not as any severance or further obligations.

Sincerely,

Dimitry, Esq.

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