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Last year I received unemployment benefits from 5/20/2012 to 11/24/2012. During which i was paid for two weekends from the national guard(one weekend in october and 1 in november. I was under the impression that I did not need to report the national guard pay. But now I think that only applies to the same state national guard. I drew unemployment from TN but worked in the MS guard. So I think I may be overpayed? One weekend I made $331 and the second I made $414. I was under the impression that benefits were only for 6 months so in November the phone claim system said I was not eligible. So this week I hear there are extensions so I called a UI rep and told them about my unreported national guard pay and if I need to do something about it. They said yes. I dug up the old pay records. What should I do now? I have read terrible things about prosecutions etc. I am just trying to do the right thing as I now believe I am overpayed. I am willing and ready to repay in full. The UI rep went ahead and started my extension but I do not feel comfortable drawing more benefits I am indeed indebted to the state. Should I have a lawyer work with me or is this a simply mistake that can be handled by me? Like I said, this possible mistake was not intentional. If it was, I would have told them in the first place! But I am aware that they deal with some dishonesty and might throw me in that category.
You have absolutely nothing to worry about here regarding being prosecuted or anything like that -- anyone could have made this honest mistake and it was only for 2 weekends out of 6 months. (My own husband failed to report income for 4 months due to misinformation given to him and the only thing that unemployment did was require him to pay back the overpaid benefits). Under these circumstances, you want to apply for the extended benefits (which you should qualify for because there is at least one federal extension still ongoing at this time through the end of 2013) and then once the federal extensions kick in and you are being paid, you call unemployment again and let them know about the weekend payments you received and they will most likely take any overpayment to you out of any benefits that you are due going forward on the federal extension. If you are notified that you do not qualify for the federal extension for one reason or another then you should speak to someone in the overpayment department and ask them to assist you in calculating what is owed so that you can make some payments to pay it back. Because what happened here seems to be a mistake, there will most likely not be any interest added to the overpayment and you can make arrangements easily to pay it back. Again, please relax -- they DO prosecute people but that is only after a person has had several periods of overpayment where there is no explanation as to WHY they keep calling in for benefits when they are working OR if a person is working under the table (for cash) and collecting benefits and the unemployment department finds out about it. 99 percent of these cases are chalked up to inexperience with the unemployment system and confusion regarding what payments should be reported and what payments do not have to be reported. Criminal prosecutions are few and far between.
Please let me know if you have further questions.
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Thank you so much for the quick response. In addition, the National guard weekend technically fall onto 2 different unemployment weeks. so that is really 4 periods of misstatement if it is looked at that way. Reading horror stories has really made me lose sleep. I want to contact them immediatley now that I have all the numbers that they need. I just fear that since it has been so long they would think I am intentionally ripping off the system. And the certification question did ask if I did any part time/full time work etc. And I answered no. Like I said, i was under the impression National Guard was not necessary to report. I feel really ashamed to be honest. I am an accounting student and ethics are obviously key for me. So a lawyer to represent me is unnecessary? I have money to pay back up to $1000 if necessary(shouldnt be that much) but would be difficult to pay lawyer fees. And will I be able to pay when I phone in with my issue? Or do they have to "investigate" and make me wait in agony? haha
Hello again Brooks -
A lawyer is not needed here. Honestly. Please relax. Once you report it they will ask you to send all information to the overpayment unit (keep copies for yourself, of course) and then they will send you a notice of how much is due. If you are unable to pay it all at once you should contact them immediately and make payment arrangements and they will be fine with it. My husband's overpayment was 5 grand and they permitted him to repay it without issue between his remaining unemployment benefits and then a few payments after his unemployment benefits were completed. He simply made a mistake on temporary work -- as you made a mistake on the national guard work. Sooner or later if the amounts earned are reported to the IRS and state taxing authorities, unemployment would have caught up to it themselves anyway (it usually takes a good year for them to get the information and turn it around into a request for repayment from you). They will be very happy that someone has come forward early to take care of the matter themselves.
Thank you so much. So should I certify in the meantime for my extension? Or better wait until this issue is resolved? Again, great responses.
There is nothing wrong with certifying for your extension as soon as possible and if it is available for you to certify to now then please do so. By the time the overpayment unit sorts this out you will probably be several weeks into your extension payments and then they may just want to keep the benefits for a few weeks as the payback for the overpayment rather than have you pay it directly. That would be the ideal situation for you, I am certain.
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