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Lucy, Esq.
Lucy, Esq., Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 30350
Experience:  Former judicial law clerk, lawyer
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Last year after 18 years my job was eliminated. I was let go

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Last year after 18 years my job was eliminated. I was let go that day without anything. It was a Thursday and I was told even my benefits would end the following Monday. With no where to turn I filed for unemployment. Sometime in May my former employer decided to give me a 3 month severance package. I took the 21 days and even had a lawyer look at it. I am 60 years old, raising 2 grandchildren and currently unemployed. Last week I received a letter from a fraud investigator with unemployment. I made mistakes in my weekly certifications such as checking no the severance which they call pay status. I did not know that I couldn't receive both at the same time. Now they want me to pay back the unemployment or he is threatening to throw my in jail. What can I do?
JA: Because employment law varies from place to place, can you tell me what state this is in?
Customer: North Carolina. Sorry I am just upset.
JA: Is the employment agreement "at will," union, full time or part time?
Customer: I am not sure what you mean. There was no union and I worked full time.
JA: Anything else you want the lawyer to know before I connect you?
Customer: This was the first time I ever applied for unemployment and I know they say ignorance is bliss but the unemployment is exactly what I would have received if the company had offered the Severance package when my job was eliminated. I would not have filed for unemployment.


I'm Lucy, and I'd be happy to answer your questions today. I'm sorry to hear that this happened.

What do you mean by, they gave you a 3 month severance package, but you only took 21 days? Did you have two options?

Customer: replied 2 months ago.
I had 21 days to take to a lawyer which I did and on the 21st day I accepted it.
Customer: replied 2 months ago.
I would gladly speak with you but I do not have the money

Okay, thank you for clarifying.

The site automatically sends phone call requests. I'm happy to talk here. It'll just take me a couple of minutes to type your answer.

It is unfortunately illegal to collect unemployment and severance at the same time in North Carolina. When you got the severance package, you were required to notify unemployment so they could stop your payments, at least until the 3 months was up. They do understand that a lot of people don't know the law, which is why they give you a chance to repay the money before they charge you with a crime. They should be willing to let you pay in installments.

The problem is, when someone refuses to pay back the money, that's when a mistake starts to look to the government like it was intentional. And that's when they'll charge you with a crime. But if you can make payments, there's a chance they won't, under these circumstances.

If you have any questions or concerns about my response, please reply WITHOUT RATING. It's important that you are 100% satisfied with my courtesy and professionalism. Otherwise, please rate my service positively so I am paid for the time I spend answering questions. If you are on a mobile device, you may need to scroll to the right. There is no charge for follow-up questions. Thank you.

Customer: replied 2 months ago.
I am presently not working but looking. How will they handle that?

They'll unfortunately require you to pay back the overpayment before you can collect anything else. They won't deduct future payments.

Customer: replied 2 months ago.
I am not sure what you mean.

I mean, they won't pay you for ongoing unemployment until after you repay the amount you received by mistake.

Customer: replied 2 months ago.
OK I really wished I had know because this would not have happened.

You're welcome. I'm sorry your lawyer didn't mention this when you had them look over the severance package. Good luck with everything.

Please rate my answer positively to ensure I get credit for the time I spend helping. If you are on a mobile device, you may need to scroll to the right. Thank you.

Lucy, Esq. and 3 other Employment Law Specialists are ready to help you