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LawTalk, Attorney
Category: California Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 37639
Experience:  I have 30 years of experience in the practice of law, including employment law and discrimination law.
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I lost my job, I am receiving unemployment. My retirement fund

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I lost my job, I am receiving unemployment. My retirement fund required me to take a distribution. Does that mean I have to count that as income and forfit my unemployment?

Good morning,

I'm Doug, and I'm sorry to hear of the confusion. Your situation, while common, is very confusing to many people. My goal is to provide you with excellent service today.

You pension will only work as an offset (you would count it as income) to your unemployment benefits if the employer who is paying you this pension is an employer in your base period for which unemployment is using income earned at that employer for calculation of your benefits.

In other words, if the employer you just were laid off from, and which layoff is why you are collecting unemployment---is also the same employer who you earned this pension through---then the pension money you receive will be an offset against any unemployment you might be entitled to. If you haven’t worked for the employer paying your pension for at least 18 months before you applied for unemployment, then the pension would not count as income.


Here is a link to the law:

You may reply back to me again, using the Reply to Expert link, if you have additional questions.

I wish you the best in your future,


Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Sorry to leave you hanging. To be sure I understand. . . If I was awarded

unemployment of $2418 for this year and I received a required disbursement from my retirement fund of $7,000, I would have to pay back the money I have received from unemployment? If that is so, do I just let them know to stop sending me money?

Good morning,

I can't answer that question until I know whether your pension is from an employer in your unemployment base period.

I would also need to know if the retirement payments were received during the same time periods as the unemployment benefits were received.

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Yes and yes.

Thanks for confirming that.

You need to contact EDD immediately and self report the overpayment. It is important that you self report as opposed to being caught. You do not want it to appear that you intentionally violated the law.

There are two kinds of an overpayment:

Non-Fraud: When you have received benefits to which you were not entitled and you are not at fault, because you legitimately forgot to disclose income or were unaware of the requirement to disclose all income earned while you were receiving benefits, the overpayment is considered non-fraud. If this is the case, you will receive a notice telling you if the overpayment must be repaid.

Fraud: When you knowingly give false information or withhold information and receive benefits that you should not have received, this not only can result in criminal prosecution, but with fraud you are assessed a penalty in the amount of 30 percent of the amount of the overpayment and a false statement disqualification of as much as a year. Fraud overpayments and penalties must be repaid.

You are much better off notifying unemployment of the overpayment they made and agreeing to voluntarily paying back the money which was overpaid to you. However, if you say nothing and you are caught, there is also a possibility that you will be criminally charged with fraud---which might entail a jail sentence.

This is one of the few times when coming forward will likely keep you out of jail. Come forward BEFORE they contact you.

Here is a site which, while put out by CA, pretty much explains the way things work in all states:

While it would be preferable if you can immediately repay the money, if you cannot they will work with you on a payment plan.

You may reply back to me again, using the Reply to Expert link, if you have additional questions.

I wish you the best in your future,


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