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  • Overpayments and Penalties: Frequently Asked Questions

    Q: What is an overpayment?

    A: An overpayment occurs when you receive Unemployment Insurance benefits that you were not entitled to. This could occur for a number of reasons. These may include:

    • You made a mistake when claiming weekly benefits.
    • You were not ready, willing and able to work.
    • You did not complete the required work search activities for a week or weeks.
    • You knowingly gave us false or misleading information when filing a claim or claiming weekly benefits.

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    Q: What should I do if I receive an overpayment determination?

    A: If you were overpaid, you will receive a written notice in the mail. The Notice of Determination to Claimants for Overpayment gives instructions on how to send a check or money order to pay the total amount due, including both overpaid benefits and monetary penalties. It also gives instructions on how to request a payment plan. Overpaid benefits and monetary penalties can also be collected by taking your state or federal tax refund. Any partial payment received from you will be applied first to any monetary penalties and then to the balance of the overpayment. Failure to pay the monetary penalty may result in legal action against you. If you disagree with the overpayment determination, you have the right to request a hearing.


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    Q: Can I appeal the overpayment determination?

    A: If you disagree with the overpayment determination, you have the right to request a hearing. The hearing will be conducted by an impartial judge who is employed by the Unemployment Insurance Appeal Board. If you are present at the hearing and lose all or part of the case, you may file an appeal to the Appeal Board. If the Appeal Board does not rule in your favor, you have 30 days from the date of the Appeal Board's decision to apply to the Appeal Board for a reconsideration of the decision, or appeal to the Appellate Division of the State Supreme Court, Third Department.

    We will not try to collect payments from you while your appeal is in progress. Any payment you made will be refunded if you are found eligible for benefits.

    For more information on the appeals process, see the Frequently Asked Questions section of the Unemployment Insurance Appeal Board website.


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    Q: Why does the overpayment amount include money that was withheld for child support and taxes?

    A: Even though you did not receive the money withheld for child support and taxes, it counts towards your total overpayment. That is because the money we withhold was paid by us on your behalf to fulfill your child support and tax obligations.
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    Q: What is a monetary penalty?

    A: A monetary penalty is assessed if we believe that you willfully made false statements or representations, or purposely withheld pertinent information, in order to obtain benefits.


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    Q: What is the difference between an overpayment and a monetary penalty?

    A: An overpayment is benefits you were not entitled to.

    A monetary penalty is a fine assessed on the full amount of overpaid benefits.


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    Q: Is the monetary penalty optional?

    A: No. The monetary penalty must be assessed unless it is overruled by an Administrative Law Judge, the Appeal Board, or a court.
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    Q: What is a forfeit day penalty?

    A: A forfeit day (or days) are days in the future for which you cannot receive Unemployment Insurance benefits. Forfeit days are assessed if you willfully made a false statement or representation to get benefits.

    A forfeit day penalty can be for one day, or it can be for several days. For every forfeit day that is assessed, you lose 25% of your benefits for that week. If you have four forfeit days, you would receive no benefits for that week. This is because there is a maximum of four effective days of benefits in a week. If you have more than four forfeit days, the additional forfeit days are carried over to the following week.

    For example, if you have five forfeit days, you would receive no benefits the first week, and you would have a 25% reduction in your benefits the following week.


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    Q: How can a forfeit day penalty affect any future claims I may file?

    A: If your forfeit day penalty has not expired, any payments you may be eligible for on future claims will first be used to pay your forfeit day penalty. This will reduce the amount of money you receive in future UI benefit payments.
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    Q: Do forfeit day penalties expire?

    A: Yes. The expiration date of a forfeit day penalty is two years minus one day from the mail date of the Notice of Determination. If you appeal the determination, the expiration date of the penalty is two years minus one day from the mail date of the appeal decision.
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    Q: Can I appeal the forfeit day penalty?

    A: Yes. Instructions for appeal of determinations are included on the Notice of Determination to Claimants for Overpayment. More information about hearings is in the Unemployment Insurance Claimant Handbook, which is available online if you chose not to have it mailed to you.

    We will not try to collect payments from you while your appeal is in progress. Any payment you made will be refunded if you are found eligible for the benefits.

    For more information on the appeals process, see the Frequently Asked Questions section of the Unemployment Insurance Appeal Board website.


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    Q: Is the monetary penalty imposed instead of a forfeit day penalty?

    A: No. The monetary penalty is imposed in addition to the forfeit day penalty.


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    Q: How is the amount of the monetary penalty calculated?

    A: The amount of the monetary penalty is calculated based on the amount of overpaid benefits.

    • If the willful overpayment is $666.67 or greater, the monetary penalty is 15% of the total overpayment.
    • If the willful overpayment is $666.66 or less, the monetary penalty is $100.

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    Q: Does the monetary penalty apply to all programs related to unemployment?

    A: Yes. The monetary penalty applies to all benefits under regular Unemployment Insurance, Extended Unemployment Compensation, Extended Benefits, Combined Wage Claims, Unemployment Compensation for Ex-Service Members, Unemployment Compensation for Federal Employees, Self-Employment Assistance Program, Trade Readjustment Allowances, and 599 Training Program. No programs related to unemployment are excluded.


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    Q: How do I know if I have a monetary penalty?

    A: You are notified of the monetary penalty on the Notice of Determination to Claimants for Overpayment. The notice tells you the amount of the overpaid benefits, the number of forfeit days imposed, and the amount of the monetary penalty.


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    Q: Can I appeal the monetary penalty?

    A: Yes. Instructions for appeal of determinations are included on the Notice of Determination to Claimants for Overpayment.

    More information about hearings is in the Unemployment Insurance Claimant Handbook, which is available online if you chose not to have it mailed to you. You can also visit our website at: www.labor.ny.gov/ui/claimantinfo/HearingProcess.shtm.

    If you disagree with the overpayment determination, you have the right to request a hearing. The hearing will be conducted by an impartial judge who is employed by the Unemployment Insurance Appeal Board. If you are present at the hearing and lose all or part of the case, you may file an appeal to the Appeal Board. If the Appeal Board does not rule in your favor, you have 30 days from the date of the Appeal Board’s decision to apply to the Appeal Board for a reconsideration of the decision, or appeal to the Appellate Division of the State Supreme Court, Third Department.

    We will not try to collect payments from you while your appeal is in progress. Any payment you made will be refunded if you are found eligible for the benefits.

    For more information on the appeals process, see the Frequently Asked Questions section of the Unemployment Insurance Appeal Board website.


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    Q: How can I find out the balance of my debt?

    A: To view the balance of your debt:

    • Sign in to your account at www.labor.ny.gov/signin
    • On the My Online Services page, select “Unemployment Services”
    • Select “View Payment History”
    If you have any remaining debt, it will be listed near the top of the page.


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    Q: How do I pay what I owe?

    A: Send a check or money order payable to "Unemployment Insurance Division," and mail it to:
    Unemployment Insurance Division
    NYS Department of Labor
    P.O. Box 1195
    Albany, NY 12201

    Overpaid benefits and monetary penalties can also be collected by taking your state or federal tax refund. Any partial payment received from you will be applied first to any monetary penalties and then to the balance of the overpayment. Failure to pay the monetary penalty may result in legal action against you.


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    Q: Can I use my credit or debit card to pay my debt?

    A: No. At this time, the Department of Labor does not accept credit card or debit card payments. The Department of Labor only accepts, by mail, checks or money orders.

    Phone and online payments are not available.

     


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    Q: Can I make monthly payments?

    A: Yes. If you are eligible for a payment plan. The maximum length of a payment plan is 36 months. If your debt is greater than $900, your minimum monthly payment will be your current balance due divided by 36. If your debt is $900 or less, your minimum monthly payment will be $25.

    If you have a payment plan, payments must be received by the 15th of each month. You may pay in full or pay more than the monthly payment at any time. If you fail to make a monthly payment on time, you might be considered in default and you might not be able to set up a new payment plan. In addition, we may refer your debt to the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance and the United States Department of the Treasury. They will send us all or part of any tax refunds you are due in order to pay your debt in full.


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    Q: How do I request a payment plan?

    A: Call:
    Collections Unit at (800) 533-6600

    OR

    Write to:
    Unemployment Insurance Division
    NYS Department of Labor
    P.O. Box 1195
    Albany, NY 12201
    Be sure to write the last four digits of your Social Security number on your request.


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    Q: What happens if I do not pay back an overpayment or monetary penalty?

    A: If you do not pay back an overpayment or monetary penalty, the Department of Labor may take legal action to file a judgment against you.

    Once entered, a judgment is good and can be used against you for 20 years. Your money, including a portion of your paycheck and/or bank account, may be taken. Also, a judgment may hurt your credit score and may affect your ability to rent a home, find a job or take out a loan.

    New York State also has what is called a "right of offset." If you do not pay back benefits that were overpaid to you, we can seize any payments New York State may owe you. These include future Unemployment Insurance benefits, contract payments, state tax refunds and other payments. We can also seize federal tax refunds and payments to collect any debt you owe us.

    If you collected benefits that you should not have received from another state or federal program, the Department of Labor must deduct repayment of those funds from your Unemployment Insurance benefits.


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    Q: What happens if my tax refunds are seized?

    A: You will receive a notice from the Internal Revenue Service or the New York State Department of Taxation & Finance that your tax refunds are being used to pay your Unemployment Insurance debt. This will follow multiple warning notices sent to you from the Department of Labor telling you that your refunds will be seized if you do not pay your debt.

    Please note that our agency may not receive your tax refunds for several weeks. If the amount taken out of your taxes is more than what you owe us, you will receive a refund from us. Allow at least six weeks from the date on the notice you received from the Internal Revenue Service or New York State Department of Taxation & Finance for our office to issue your refund. Refunds will be paid to your Unemployment Insurance benefits debit card or to your bank account, depending on the payment method associated with your claim.

    If your federal tax refund was seized, you will be charged an administrative fee of $15.88. If you and your spouse file a joint federal income tax return, your spouse may be entitled to part of the federal tax refund. In that case, your spouse should file an Injured Spouse Allocation form (Federal Form 8379). The form instructions explain the steps your spouse must take to receive his or her portion of the federal tax refund.


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    Q: Will my payments show on my year-end tax statement (Form1099-G)?

    A: Certain payments will show on your Form 1099-G. They will be listed on the form in Box2, Adjustments. These include:

    • Cash payments you sent to pay back your overpaid benefits
    • Your income tax refunds that were used to pay back your overpaid benefits
    These payments will not show on your Form 1099-G:

    • Payments you made to cover penalties
    • Unemployment Insurance benefits that were used to pay back your overpayment

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