Missouri unveils waiver for federal coronavirus unemployment overpayments

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From THE MISSOURI TIMES –

Missourians who received erroneous federal COVID-19 unemploymentoverpayments could soon be able to seek a waiver from recovery through the Department of Labor and Industrial Relations, it announced Tuesday. 

The potential waiver only applies to federal overpayments given from Feb. 8, 2020, through June 12, 2021, under the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC), Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA), Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC), Mixed Earners Unemployment Compensation (MEUC), and Lost Wages Assistance (LWA). 

It covers non-fraudulent money given to Missourians through no fault of their own. Those who qualify for the waiver should be notified in July with instructions on how to apply, the department said in a news release. 

The Labor Department estimated earlier this year approximately $150 million in overpayments — of both federal and state funds — were sent to about 46,000 Missourians during the pandemic. Most of the overpayments were from federal funds, the department said. 

Lawmakers unsuccessfully tried to push through a forgiveness plan for Missourians who received these overpayments through no fault of their own. During multiple hearings, individuals testified regarding just how detrimental it would be for collections to start on those funds. A school bus driver told legislators she owed about $13,000 in erroneous overpayments. 

Rep. J. Eggleston, who spearheaded the legislation in the lower chamber, called on Gov. Mike Parson to convene a special session to tackle forgiveness options. 

The Labor Department said it would begin collections on the state’s portion of the overpayments in August. 

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