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PUA Overpayment and Restitution
Claimants sometimes are faced with a determination that unemployment benefits they have already received must now be repaid to the Unemployment Insurance Agency.This situation can cause confusion for recipients and create stress over having to repay what has already been spent on daily needs. Some claimants who have received federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance have been notified they may have to pay restitution.
This webpage provides information about options that are available if you find yourself in this situation.
How Did I End Up In This Position?
Under the federal PUA program, those filing for unemployment benefits could verify eligibility themselves using key documents needed to make a timely decision. This included proof of employment prior to filing for unemployment benefits. If UIA cannot determine with certainty that you had employment that was directly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic or that your earned income supported an increased benefit amount, then your PUA claim could be denied or your weekly benefit amount reduced, leading to the overpayment notification you received.
Can I Protest An Overpayment Decision?If you disagree with the determination or redetermination on whether you are eligible to receive benefits, you may submit a statement protesting the decision. You have 30 days from the date on determination or redetermination letter mailed to you to explain why you disagree with the decision. If it's beyond the 30 days, you also need to explain why you missed the deadline. See Page 81 of the MiWAM Toolkit for Claimants for details.
You submit a protest through your MIWAM account:
1. Click on the PUA claim ID to view the details.
2. Click on "Determination Status", and then on "file a protest" or "file appeal" for the issue you wish to protest.
3. Complete all the required fields and use the "add" feature to include any documentation or evidence you would like to include with your protest.
4. When you file a protest, do not request at the same time a hardship waiver (see below). A waiver cannot be considered until a restitution decision is finalized.
An administrative law judge will make a ruling in your case.
What if I Lose My Protest and Appeal?
You can request a restitution waiver for financial hardship. You can make the request from the UI Claim screen in MiWAM under the Claimant Services tab. When you file a protest, do not request at the same time a hardship waiver. A waiver cannot be considered until a restitution decision is finalized. You can only apply for a waiver every six months. Continue to monitor your MiWAM account and make sure your contact information is updated in case you are contacted for additional information. See Page 89 of the MiWAM Toolkit for Claimants for instructions on how to request a hardship waiver.
How Long Does The Protest Process Take?
Due to the high volume of claims and dependent on UIA staff workloads, this process may take longer than under normal circumstances. Ideally, protests can take 30 days to be resolved, but often take longer. Check your MiWAM account for status updates.
What If My Waiver Is Denied?
You can protest the waiver denial by filing UIA Form 1795. If again denied, contact the UI Benefit Overpayment Collection Unit at 1-866-500-0017 or go through your MiWAM account to arrange repayment terms. Interest is charged on overpayments at a rate of one percent per month, accruing daily until the total amount due is paid.
Failure to repay benefits that you've receive improperly can result in:
- Garnishment of your wages. Interception of your federal and State of Michigan income tax refunds.
- Forfeiture of lottery winnings over $1,000.
- Referral for criminal prosecution as a felony.
- Denial of future jobless benefit payments.
What If My Protest Is Denied?
If you disagree with the decision of the administrative law judge's ruling, you can appeal to the Unemployment Insurance Appeals Commission (UIAC). You must file your appeal within 30 days of the date on the letter mailed to you with the ALJ's decision. You'll find electronic and printable appeal forms at Michigan.gov/UIAC.