Two Ways an Overpayment of Unemployment Benefits Can Arise.
Believe it or not, even after DES determines that you are eligible for benefits and pays them out to you – you may be required to pay them back! There are two ways this can happen: The first types of situation is where benefits are awarded but the employer appeals the determination. There are actually several different appeal stages and each takes some time; but meanwhile the claimant (if otherwise still eligible) continues to receive unemployment benefits throughout the appeal process which can last many months or even longer. If the final decision is that the claimant was not eligible when the appeal process has been exhausted (or abandoned) then there will be a corresponding overpayment – generally in the amount of all the benefits received up to that point. In other words that final determination is not just forward-looking but applies retrospectively as well.
The second situation is a bit murkier and seems to arise when DES does an audit of a claim. Presumably some of these audits are triggered when the employer challenges a charge and presents DES with information related to a claim which causes DES to reinvestigate the claim – well after the employer’s time to challenge or appeal an eleigibility determination has passed. This is permitted by A.R.S. §23-773(B): “After the time for appeal has expired, but within one year after the issuance of the original determination, the department with authorization of the unemployment insurance program administrator may issue a reconsidered determination, on the basis of newly discovered evidence that by due diligence could not have been previously discovered, if no administrative or judicial review has occurred or is pending on the original determination. If a redetermination is based on fraud, the one year limitation on the issuance of redeterminations does not apply.”
My next post will further examine the audit-caused overpayment.