CORONAVIRUS

Utah Tries To Collect $1.5M In Unemployment Overpayments

Dec 15, 2020, 7:10 PM | Updated: 9:16 pm

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Utah is seeking repayment of approximately $1.5 million in unemployment benefits that were incorrectly paid out during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to data that was sent to federal regulators.

Utah paid $1.2 million in overpayments for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance and $340,000 in overpayments under the Pandemic Extended Unemployment Compensation, the unemployment office reported in October to the Office of Inspector General.

Under the two unemployment programs from the CARES Act, Utah paid out more than $60 million in total claims. The payment accuracy rate for the two programs is more than 97%, according to the Utah Department of Workforce Services.

For a historical perspective, in 2019 Utah had the third-lowest improper payment rate (4.1%) for unemployment insurance when compared to the national average of 10.7%.

“Utah is very proactive about trying to collect those overpayments,” said Kevin Burt, director of Utah’s Unemployment Insurance Division.

Burt added his office works diligently at the beginning of the process to prevent bad claims from being processed.

“The best way to collect overpayments is to never have them go out,” he said. “We were able to identify a lot of identity theft attempts prior to paying them out.”

Utah’s Unemployment Benefits Guide also indicates that overpayment should be immediately paid back.

“Failure to do so may result in recovery of the overpayment by garnishment of your federal and/or state tax refunds, wages, or a lien against your property,” the guide says.

Richfield resident Jesse Camden told KSL-TV he is on the hook to pay back $11,050 in unemployment benefits. He’s created a GoFundMe* account and is looking for ways to earn extra money.

“It’s not a very good feeling,” he said.

Camden said he applied for benefits at the beginning of the pandemic when he couldn’t work while waiting for the results of a COVID-19 test.

“I hurt my back 10 days after filing,” Camden’s GoFundMe description said.

Camden said hurting his back made him ineligible for unemployment benefits since he wasn’t capable of working. However, he said he wasn’t told that until after he received payments into the summer.

“If they would have told me on April 12 — or even within a few days of then — I would have stopped filing,” he said.

Camden said he lost his first appeal and is now warning others to pay attention to the process.

“Ask extra questions, live chat, give them a call, anything you can do,” Camden said. “Because you don’t want to end up in the same boat as me.”

Burt said the state needs to be aggressive in collecting overpayments so that they can keep the unemployment trust fund healthy and taxes low for Utah employers. Outright fraud is also referred for criminal prosecution, Burt said.

To avoid any overpayments, Burt instructs to follow the claims process carefully every week and to accurately report all job contacts and any wages earned.


*KSL TV does not assure that the money deposited to the account will be applied for the benefit of the persons named as beneficiaries. If you are considering a deposit to the account, you should consult your own advisers and otherwise proceed at your own risk.

KSL 5 TV Live

Coronavirus

Deer Creek Reservoir...

Alex Cabrero

State parks expecting another record visitation year, hiring more workers

It didn't matter how cold or snowy it was at Deer Creek State Park Friday afternoon. Nothing was going to stop Leonard Sawyer from taking his boat out to do a little fishing.

12 days ago

FILE —  Respiratory virus illness activity continues to increase across the US.
(Joe Burbank/Orl...

Emma Benson

‘Not viruses to mess around with’: Experts urge caution during ongoing ‘tripledemic’

Experts say though not as severe as last year, this winter we're seeing another "tripledemic" – rising cases of COVID-19, flu and RSV in Utah.

2 months ago

FILE - COVID-19 antigen home tests. (AP Photo/Patrick Sison, File)Credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS...

Emma Benson

‘The ICUs are full:’ Keep yourself and others healthy this holiday

It's time for holiday gatherings, but with more people around us comes a greater risk of getting sick.

2 months ago

Julianna Preece goes through the mountain of medical documents she's acquired for her health condit...

Lauren Steinbrecher

Herriman couple is suing CVS, says 5x Covid vaccine dose mistake caused health problems

A couple is suing a Utah CVS vaccination clinic, saying a nurse’s mistake led to the wife receiving five times the normal COVID-19 vaccine dose and caused serious health issues she’s still dealing with today.

3 months ago

FILE - COVID-19 antigen home tests. (AP Photo/Patrick Sison, File)Credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS...

Associated Press

More free COVID-19 tests from the government are available for home delivery through the mail

Americans can order more free COVID-19 tests online for home delivery.

3 months ago

FILE - Doses of the anti-viral drug Paxlovid are displayed in New York, Aug. 1, 2022. The COVID-19 ...

Amanda Seitz, Associated Press

COVID-19 treatments to enter the market with a hefty price tag

The COVID-19 treatments millions of have taken for free from the federal government will enter the private market next week with a hefty price tag.

4 months ago

Sponsored Articles

Modern chandelier hanging from a white slanted ceiling with windows in the backgruond...

Lighting Design

Light Up Your Home With These Top Lighting Trends for 2024

Check out the latest lighting design trends for 2024 and tips on how you can incorporate them into your home.

Technician woman fixing hardware of desktop computer. Close up....

PC Laptops

Tips for Hassle-Free Computer Repairs

Experiencing a glitch in your computer can be frustrating, but with these tips you can have your computer repaired without the stress.

Close up of finger on keyboard button with number 11 logo...

PC Laptops

7 Reasons Why You Should Upgrade Your Laptop to Windows 11

Explore the benefits of upgrading to Windows 11 for a smoother, more secure, and feature-packed computing experience.

Stylish room interior with beautiful Christmas tree and decorative fireplace...

Lighting Design

Create a Festive Home with Our Easy-to-Follow Holiday Prep Guide

Get ready for festive celebrations! Discover expert tips to prepare your home for the holidays, creating a warm and welcoming atmosphere for unforgettable moments.

Battery low message on mobile device screen. Internet and technology concept...

PC Laptops

9 Tips to Get More Power Out of Your Laptop Battery

Get more power out of your laptop battery and help it last longer by implementing some of these tips from our guide.

Users display warnings about the use of artificial intelligence (AI), access to malicious software ...

Les Olson

How to Stay Safe from Cybersecurity Threats

Read our tips for reading for how to respond to rising cybersecurity threats in 2023 and beyond to keep yourself and your company safe.

Utah Tries To Collect $1.5M In Unemployment Overpayments