How to Handle Unemployment Benefit Overpayments

Having to pay back overpaid unemployment benefits can be a stressful prospect, especially if you do not understand how or when an overpayment was made. You may have had no personal hand whatsoever in the creation of the overpayment. You may have fears about the accuracy of information you gave on the Unemployment Insurance (UI) assistance application at the start of your claim. Regardless of whose fault it is, you must pay overpaid unemployment insurance benefits back to the Department of Economic Security once you become aware of the situation. UI overpayment and its complications are never at the forefront of any claimant’s mind during hard economic times when unemployment assistance is needed. There are a few simple steps you need to understand about how the Department of Economic Security (DES) in Arizona can arrive at the decision that your funds have been overissued. To learn more about how to repay overissued unemployment insurance benefits, continue reading the sections provided below.

What Are Unemployment Benefit Overpayments In Arizona?

Before learning how to pay unemployment overpayments in Arizona, you must first recognize what constitutes an overpayment, as well as when and how overissued funds have occurred. According to Arizona state law, an unemployment overpayment is any occurrence in which a claimant receives more unemployment assistance than he or she was legally entitled to. In order to be properly informed of how a UI overpayment is determined, here is the process by which an overpayment is issued:

  1. You filed an unemployment benefits claim at your local Arizona DES office.

  2. You underwent a fact-finding interview with an appointed Deputy at DES in order to answer questions the state government had about your employment background and benefits eligibility.

  3. You were found eligible for unemployment benefits and received them.

  4. You were later found ineligible for benefits and the DES issued a Determination of Deputy regarding an overpayment and the listed cause: fraud, non-fraud or administrative. These last two reasons carry no legal consequence, merely the settling and correction of the mistake.

  5. The DES issues a Determination of Overpayment.

Get more information on the UI overpayment determination process by downloading our free comprehensive guide.

Consequences for Non-Repayment of Overpaid Unemployment Benefits in Arizona

You will certainly want to repay overissued unemployment insurance as quickly and efficiently as your finances will allow. If you delay paying back overpaid unemployment benefits can incite the accrual of expensive interest, result in disqualification for future assistance and lead to civil and/or criminal proceedings depending on the reasons listed for your overpayment. You have the right to ask for a reduction of the overpayment amount demanded of you if the listed reason for the overpayment is administrative. You also have the right to appeal any UI overpayment demand. To be punctual and effective, an appeal needs to be filed within 15 days of the date of overpayment determination. Failure to pay overpaid unemployment insurance benefits can result in tax interception of the demanded funds. This occurs when collection efforts by the Arizona state government have proven fruitless and a claimant still owes overissued benefits at tax time. Additionally, these benefits can be recovered directly from the claimant’s state income tax return or even garnished from earned wages.

The Process for Repayment of Overpaid Unemployment Benefits in Arizona

If you are worried about how to pay unemployment overpayments, set your mind at ease. The process is relatively simple. You will first need to look at the established date of the overpayment. This will not necessarily be the date that you received UI overpayment, but the date on which the overpayment was entered into GUIDE, the online platform the Arizona DES utilizes to manage unemployment benefits accounts. The overissued unemployment funds will be entered into GUIDE on one of the following dates:

  • 10 days after the official notice of overpayment if the overpayment was related to earnings

  • The same date as the Determination of Deputy that established the overissued funds

  • The exact date of the DES’ Determination of Overpayment

The reason that this date is so important when you need to repay overissued unemployment insurance is because it marks the date on which interest will begin to accrue. The Determination of Overpayment you will receive from the Arizona DES will outline the causes of your overissued funds, any information or documentation that the state government may need from you in order to clarify the overpayment matter and options for a repayment plan. You can pay back overpaid unemployment benefits over the course of several months in most cases. You do not have to worry about repaying the entire lump sum all at once. It is also important to note that the amount of overpaid unemployment benefits attributed to you in the Determination of Overpayment may exceed the amount of funds you actually received because the Arizona state government may have deducted any owed monies such as state income tax or child support. For complete details on how to pay back overpaid unemployment benefits, download our comprehensive guide.

What Kinds of Employment Services Does Arizona Offer?

The state of Arizona offers various programs meant to assist residents who have become unemployed. These employment services include unemployment insurance programs and job training initiatives. To learn about how you can apply for unemployment benefits and receive job assistance in Arizona, download our guide today.

Who Is Eligible for Employment Services in Arizona?

Arizona residents that meet certain criteria can qualify to receive employment benefits and training. The state has set job loss standards that determine the eligibility and amount of benefits an individual may be able to receive. To find out if you are eligible for Arizona unemployment benefits, download our guide now.