Perdue moves to end unemployment check deductions

October 1, 2010 6:01:54 PM PDT
Gov. Beverly Perdue ordered North Carolina's Employment Security Commission on Friday to stop taking money out of unemployment checks to recoup overpayments that came from an administrative error.A statement from the commission said Perdue also asked the agency to stop cashing any checks sent in by benefit recipients who were trying to repay the overpayments from previous checks.

She also instructed the commission to waive all overpayments from Jan. 1 to May 16 that resulted from an administrative error.

That means the recipients are not required to repay anything.

The agency released a plan late Thursday that it hoped would prevent tens of thousands of jobless people from having to return $28 million in overpayments they received by mistake.

"The ESC has worked diligently to correct this error," ESC Chairman Lynn Holmes said in the statement. "The good news is that claimants affected by the overpayment will no longer have money taken out of their weekly benefits. We are developing a plan to refund to those persons who had already made repayment."

The commission said Thursday it would work with the U.S. Department of Labor to offset the unemployment check overpayments given out because of the administrative errors. The labor department also has pledged to review claims in an accelerated method, according to the commission.

The commission began sending out letters last week to about 38,000 people who were out of work for at least a year who were either overpaid or underpaid through no fault of their own. About 15 percent of recipients were underpaid and will be eligible for additional benefits. Others could see their benefits being reduced.

The plan, announced after commission leaders met with Perdue, also will extend hours at the commission's call center.

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