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ESC duns jobless for benefit overpayments

Posted September 28, 2010
Updated September 29, 2010

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— Thousands of unemployed North Carolina residents have received letters from the state Employment Security Commission saying their jobless benefits have been overpaid and they need to return the money.

David Clegg, deputy chairman of the ESC, said Tuesday that the letters are part of an accounting procedure that flagged about 38,000 people who might have had problems with eligibility requirements in their second year of receiving unemployment benefits.

"Some had been overpaid. Some were potentially underpaid, about 15 percent were underpaid," Clegg said.

Those affected are getting multiple letters from the ESC, but Clegg said most will wind up owing nothing once they receive all of the letters.

"Many of these adjustments will net out (to) zero," he said.

Marta Miller, who was laid off last year, said she understands what the four letters she's received say, but she doesn't understand why the state says she owes more than $2,600.

"I just wish somebody would explain it and fix it," Miller said. "They thought they had overpaid me for whatever weeks, and this is the amount I owed them. If I had it to pay back, $2,600, I wouldn't be on unemployment."

People who do end up owing money will be able to file for a waiver, Clegg said.

"This is not a bad thing. This is an administrative process," he said. "Sadly, it is one that is a little bit cumbersome because of the state and federal laws."

Miller said she isn't sure why she's got to go through the process when it's hard enough just to look for another job. She said she has called the ESC repeatedly but keeps getting a busy signal.

"I get frustrated not being able to find anything, and then I come home and I have to deal with this. That's just more than enough," she said.

Clegg said the ESC phone lines are overloaded with people calling about the letters in addition to the agency's normal call volume. He asked that everyone be patient and suggested they e-mail the ESC instead at esc.ui.customerservice@ncesc.gov.


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  • reemalvaso Sep 30, 2010

    Being underemployed is the pits,should I have gone back to school to be an accoutant? I have reducated myself in the Medical HealthCare Field with The Jobs Now Program and still cannot find a job.

  • marmedmil Sep 29, 2010

    @smwells07 Soooo true. I my self got 4 over the weekend, 3 on Monday 2 on Tuesday and another 2 today. That's 11 letters telling me in 1 letter that I did not qualify for unemployment benefits, 9 letters saying I have several thousand dollars in benefits on both tiers 2 & 3, and 1 letter telling me that they are going to start taking 50% of my benefits out of my check.

  • smwells07 Sep 29, 2010

    If 38000 people received 7 letters [like I did], then the cost for postage to mail those letters cost the state $117,040. Does this sound like a waste of money?

  • marmedmil Sep 29, 2010

    @Dark_Horse, My remarks in that post were in response to someone else's post to me. I never thought for a second nor did I expect anyone to contact me regarding this situation. However, what I did expect out of plain courtesy was an automated "Thank you for contacting us". If you are one of the lucky ones to have a job and not be affected by this ESC nonsense, I am very happy for you. It's a very frustrating situation that a lot of us are going through at this time and we just want someone to hear us and/or to help us....FYI, since this morning's post I did in fact receive such an email from Governor Perdue's office, Senator Hagan's office as well as the White House. So, even though it wasn't a personal message, they did in fact send some sort of reply. By the way, the sarcasm wasn't necessary.

  • Dark_Horse Sep 29, 2010

    "My name is Marta Miller. I am the lady that was on the news clip yesterday. FYI, I did send email to Kay Hagan, Governor Perdue and also to the White House. As of a minute ago when I checked my email I still have no response from any of them. Evidently it's not important enough. Wonder if they forgot that there's an election coming up."

    Yeah, because Im sure your email is the only one they received today. The White House should have just dropped everything once that email came thru and put your situation above every other problem in the country!

  • asiseeit Sep 29, 2010

    Guess it's beans & rice for the next 6-8 weeks.

  • dquis764 Sep 29, 2010

    Only 1/2 of your check? One of the ladies in my class only received $12.00 this week and several of us have had almost 70% taken out. And I thought we were supposed to receive TAA (since we are covered under TRA)--but we have been told --REPEATEDLY by our TAA reps that we are supposed to receive the full amount due to our status under the Trade Adjustment Act.
    And unless I read the statute wrong--"NCGS 19-18(3)d; any person who has been overpaid under subparagraph (2) shall be liable to have such sums deducted from future benefits payable to him under this chapter in such amounts as the Commission may by regulation prescribe but no such benefit payable for any week shall be reduced by more than fifty percent (50%) of that person's weekly benefit amount."

    They made the law and now cannot even follow their own law? Is anyone steering the ship?--old gal

  • monkeyboy Sep 29, 2010

    "If they were incompetent, they wouldn't be correcting these errors." - ncbluebird

    man, i've seen a lot of incredibly stupid comments on wral, but this takes the cake. really? REALLY? good god, stop skipping school, you 3rd grader...

  • JennaRink Sep 29, 2010

    After my first 12 years in the NC workforce, the company I worked for went out of business. While looking for another job, I filed for food stamps so my 3 children could eat. I did everything I was supposed to do, reporting all household income changes. After the 3rd month, I got a letter from Social Services saying they had overpaid me $250 and that I needed to pay it back immediately. I took my card back to them and told them to deduct what I hadn't used and I sent them $20 a month until it was paid off. The embarrassment of having to go through all that was worse than having to ask for help to begin with. I will NEVER seek government assistance again!

  • PDMARTIN Sep 29, 2010

    If it is suppose to net out to 0 then why are they taking half my check for this week?????