New Yorkers Shocked by Request to Return Thousands in Unemployment Benefits
The state of New York is looking to take back a whole bunch of unemployment benefits that they believe were paid out to people that didn't qualify for the money. This isn't a small amount of money, we're talking about $114 million in unemployment benefits. Wow, that a lot more than a "rounding error".
The state claims that during the huge spike in unemployment claims, brought on by the coronavirus pandemic in 2020, people that didn't qualify for unemployment received money that didn't deserve and now New York wants that money back.
According to the article in the Times Union, people all across the state have been receiving notices from New York Labor Department demanding that they repay unemployment benefits back to the state. Some of these notifications exceed $10,000.
According to local labor attorney, Patrick Sorsby before the coronavirus pandemic, the state couldn't ask for its money back if the state made a mistake in paying unemployment. That is unless the state can show that the person receiving the benefit intentionally mislead the labor department to receive the money. Now with the federal COVID relief that the state has received to help with unemployment that has changed and the state can go back and demand the $114 million that it accidentally paid out to thousands of New Yorkers.
If seems to me if New Yorkers filed for unemployment in good faith that they deserved it...it's the responsibility of the state to make sure that they are eligible. Plus, you know that money is long gone, used to pay the mortgage, car payment, tuition, or just food for the family. It's not like people got their unemployment check and ran out to buy a boat or take a luxury vacation. This whole situation seems like New York kicking its citizens while they are down.
I'm sure there were some people trying to work the system to get a quick buck, but it looks like the majority of the people truly thought they were eligible for unemployment, filed for the benefit and the state gave them the money they needed.
So now what? If you don't have the money to pay it back, you probably don't have the money to hire a lawyer, and now you are facing an even more despite financial situation. The advice from labor attorney Patric Sorsby is to contact the Legal Aid Society to see if they can help.