How to Handle Unemployment Benefit Overpayments in Virginia

Understanding how to pay back overpaid unemployment benefits in Virginia is important for all beneficiaries and potential applicants. Learning how to pay unemployment overpayments begins with determining what an overpayment is. A UI overpayment happens when a beneficiary receives more than what he or she is eligible for through unemployment insurance. There are many reasons for why an unemployment overpayment can occur, some of which are through no fault of the beneficiary. Once a beneficiary finds that he or she has been overpaid unemployment insurance, it must be reported to the proper authorities. Reporting overpaid unemployment benefits to the Virginia Employment Commission (VEC) is only the first step in handling overpayments. Failure to repay over issued unemployment insurance benefits can lead to severe penalties including hefty finds and losing unemployment insurance altogether. To find out more regarding how to pay overpaid unemployment insurance benefits in Virginia, continue reading the information below.

What is a UI overpayment in Virginia?

A UI overpayment in Virginia occurs when a beneficiary receives a financial amount through unemployment benefits to which he or she is not entitled. Knowing how to pay back overpaid unemployment benefits will only come after a beneficiary determines that he or she has been issued benefits that are not his or hers. Unemployment Insurance overpayments can include amounts paid while an appeal by the employer is being conducted, any amounts paid due to a beneficiary not notifying the VEC of information which would have reduced benefit amounts or withhold employment information that would have eliminated a benefit payment. A beneficiary will be required to pay back overpaid unemployment benefits that have been issued in error.

There are two types of Unemployment Insurance overpayments, fault and non-fault. Both fault and non-fault UI overpayments will require a beneficiary to repay over issued unemployment insurance. A fault UI overpayment can occur as the result of an applicant providing false information, misrepresenting information on the weekly claims or not reporting information that is required by Virginia law. When a fault-overpayment takes place, the applicant will be responsible for knowing how to pay back the unemployment insurance. In addition to any overpayments for UI made, interest or fines may also be included in the repayment amount for UI fraud.

Non-fault UI overpayment will occur when the overpayment issued is not the error of the beneficiary. A mistake can happen through the Virginia Employment Commission (VEC) processing or during the filing of claims, which results in overissued unemployment benefits. The beneficiary will still need to repay these overissued unemployment benefits despite this being a non-fault circumstance. A non-fault UI overpayment can be deducted from any future benefit payments if the beneficiary so chooses. To find out more information regarding what constitutes as a UI overpayment in Virginia, download our helpful state guide today.

How to Repay Overissued Unemployment Insurance in Virginia

Many beneficiaries wonder how to pay unemployment overpayments in Virginia after discovering the over-issuance of benefits. Repayment of over issued unemployment insurance will need to be made in full. For a beneficiary who cannot pay back overpaid unemployment benefits in full, he or she must contact the Benefit Payment Control Unit of Virginia to arrange for a repayment installation plan to be implemented. Beneficiaries who have outstanding unemployment insurance benefits to be repaid may have future benefits withheld until the repayment is complete. Applicants who wish to repay a UI overpayment in Virginia can either login to the online web portal or contact the local VEC office directly. All beneficiaries should report an overpayment of benefits for unemployment insurance as soon as it occurs, as to avoid additional overpayments. Beneficiaries should know how much to expect in Unemployment Insurance for their claim to avoid receiving overpayments.

What are the penalties for failure to pay back overpaid unemployment benefits in Virginia?

Failure to pay overpaid unemployment insurance benefits in Virginia can carry serious consequences for all involved. Beneficiaries who acquire a UI overpayment by providing false statements or misrepresenting information will have more severe penalties than those who obtain unemployment overpayments through administrative error. Applications should learn how to apply for unemployment benefits correctly to avoid giving false information unknowingly such as failing to report all forms of income. When a beneficiary does not pay back overpaid unemployment benefits or fails to report overpayments to the VEC, then he or she may face fines and sometimes even imprisonment.

If an applicant cannot pay back overpaid unemployment benefits in a timely fashion, then he or she will be issued a 15 percent penalty on top of the overpayment amount. Repayment of all overissued unemployment benefits will need to be in full before a beneficiary can receive any future unemployment insurance. In many cases, the VEC will use other ways to obtain a UI overpayment, such as through collection agencies, wage garnishment, seizing income tax refunds, levying personal property and through the Credit Bureau. Costs for retrieving a UI overpayment from a beneficiary, which can include administrative fees, attorney fees, late penalties and interest, can all be charged to the beneficiary. Regardless if an unemployment insurance overpayment occurs at the fault of the VEC, repayment of these benefits should be made as soon as possible to avoid serious penalties and consequences. To find out more information regarding how to pay unemployment overpayments in Virginia, download our comprehensive state guide today.

Virginia Employment Commission