SPARTANBURG, S.C. (WSPA) – While a lot of Americans are getting an unemployment check in the mail, there are some in South Carolina getting letters from the Department of Employment and Workforce saying they received unemployment benefits they’re not eligible for.
A new twist on this story we’ve been telling you about for weeks.
“It’s basically saying that an overpayment determination was made on my unemployment insurance claim,” said Greenville Resident, Cherise Parker.
Greenville resident Cherise Parker is one of the people who got a letter in the mail from the South Carolina Department of Employment and Workforce. She told us when she did, she thought it was a mistake.
“When I received the repayment option, it was a little over $100 more than my actual benefits were so I’m just really not even understanding how it happened,” Parker said.
But it’s not a mistake. The South Carolina Department of Employment and Workforce said these overpayments are determined if records suggest what was inputted into the system at time of someone’s initial claims application didn’t match records, such as wage reports filed by their employer.
The state told us they have the right to recoup the overpayment through future unemployment insurance benefits.
But for Parker, she told us she doesn’t know what to do next.
“It just says I have ten days to appeal,” Parker told 7 News.
She has tried calling the state’s employment line but said she hasn’t had much luck.
And she’s not alone. Spartanburg man, Willie Hines told us he has also had trouble getting through to anyone.
“How they helping us when we can’t even get in touch with the people?,” asked Spartanburg Resident, Willie Hines.
Leaders at the department have addressed this problem before.
“Six weeks ago I think we were around 50 dedicated customer service reps now we’re well over 400,” said Chief of Staff with the South Carolina Department of Employment and Workforce, Jamie Suber.
For more information on overpayment determination, you can find some background information 7 News was sent by a spokesperson with SCDEW here:
“An overpayment occurs when someone receives unemployment insurance (UI) benefits for which they are not eligible. The S.C. Department of Employment and Workforce (DEW) classifies overpayments of UI benefits into two categories: non-fraudulent overpayments and fraudulent overpayments.
Overpayments are determined if records suggest what was inputted into the system at time of their initial claims application didn’t match records, such as wage reports filed by their employer. This could have been entered by error and it can be corrected by applying for a “Waiver of No Fault Overpayment” with the form provided on our website at the link below. Or it could be perhaps that someone filed for regular UI benefits, said they were laid off from their job, but when we received the employer response, the employer corrected the separation reason to quit or fired/discharged, for which would make them ineligible for regular UI benefits.
There are so many factors at play for every single claim. An overpayment is usually not a simple clerical issue, as in we made an arbitrary overpayment of benefits by accident, as the name may lead you to think.
Ahead of the letter being mailed, an overpayment will be displayed towards the top of their MyBenefits portal homepage. It will state OVERPAYMENTS and a value if there is one. It will be blank if they do not have an overpayment on their claim.
An overpayment notice letter will show the amount they were overpaid, includes any penalty fees associated with the overpayment, explains why they were overpaid and provides information about their right to appeal and/or apply for a Waiver of No Fault overpayment.
We have additional information on our website here: https://dew.sc.gov/overpayments.”
You can also find a statement from the Chief of Staff with the Department of Employment and Workforce, Jamie Suber, below:
“The MyBenefits portal will always be the most up to date for information, but in order to ensure thorough communication, we do send the same correspondence to claimants by mail. We encourage individuals to check in their MyBenefits portal, and if the information on the letter is different than what’s displayed at the top of their portal homepage, feel free to give us a call so we can verify for you. We also have resources on our dew.sc.gov website about overpayments that explain the process and provide any forms claimants may need. That’s another resource we highly encourage everyone to explore.”