* WREX TV
PUA or Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, is a federal program approved in the Cares Act that allows states to provide relief to workers who don’t meet unemployment qualification. [Hairstylist Brittany Welch] says she understood hairstylists like her should get roughly $198 a week through the program. Her payments were nearly double that. Welch says she tried to reach out to the state for clarification.
“I have it documented and screenshotted 783 times I was either disconnected or hung up on,” says Welch. […]
Welch says now the state has caught up to the error. She received a letter telling her to pay back $4,883. She says that’s roughly all the funds she was given.
“So they’re asking me to pay back something. I don’t have an overpayment at all, that’s all I got,” says Welch.
What a freaking mess.
But, the problem is, the state is mandated by federal law to collect any over-payments. The rules set up allowed claimants to declare what they earned, but then the state must follow up and verify. If there’s a difference, the state is responsible for clawing that money back. Some folks may have lied, but some folks may have just filled out the form wrong during a very trying time. In some cases, like perhaps the one above, the state made the error.
Big business gets away with stuff like this all the time. Small business owners who made an honest mistake ought to get a break, but that’s up to Congress. The state has no choice here.
* Follow up…
Democratic Senator Steve Stadelman says these types of PUA issues are plaguing every state, which is why Congress must act.
“The federal law requires state’s to recoup that money, the only way that changes is if congress passes a new law or rules.” […]
Republican Representative Andrew Chesney says his side of the aisle has repeatedly called on speaker Mike Madigan to reconvene so lawmakers can push for solutions on these issues.
“Of course that hasn’t happened and we haven’t been in Springfield more than 25 days in a year which is unacceptable. The first people to be at work should be the General Assembly and we should be the last.”
They could reconvene today and it wouldn’t make any difference. This is a federal issue.