Unemployment Overpayment Notices sent in Louisiana September 9th and 10th

Posted on: September 18, 2020

Updated September 18, 2020

Recently, a computer error notified up to 7,600 people they had to pay back the unemployment benefits they received. The State has reported that they are working on correcting the issue and that the majority of people who were sent these letters by mistake will not owe anything.

But the time to appeal for a “fair hearing” about an unemployment notice is 15 days from the date on the notice. So people who got this notice should appeal within the 15 days unless they receive a correction from the state before then.

HOW DO I APPEAL?

Appeal right away to protect your rights! You only have 15 days to submit your appeal. Your letter will include the date you must submit your appeal by. If you miss the deadline, you may lose your right to appeal.

The letter will provide instructions on how to appeal the overpayment. You can appeal:

  • Online through your HiRE account at louisianaworks.net (This will be the fastest option.)
  • Email— Complete the "I appeal" section on your letter, scan the page, and email it to ClerkAppeal@lwc.la.gov.
  • Fax—Complete the "I appeal" section on your letter, and fax it to 1-225-346-6077.
  • Postal mail— Complete the "I appeal" section on your letter, make a copy, and mail it to:

Louisiana Workforce Commission
Attn: Appeals Tribunal
P.O. Box 94094
Baton Rouge, LA 70804-9094

*Make sure your appeal is postmarked by the appeal deadline provided on your letter.

If you decide to file an appeal, you should still file your weekly certifications.

You can also call Southeast Louisiana Legal Services to see if we can give you free legal help. Call our COVID-19 Helpline at 1-844-244-7871 to apply for free legal assistance. But go ahead and appeal before you hear back from Legal Services. Because of the large number of notices, they may not be able to return your call in time.

WHAT HAPPENS IF I APPEAL?

If your appeal is submitted before the deadline on your letter, a telephone hearing will be scheduled with an Administrative Law Judge, unless the agency fixes the problem ahead of time.  Be sure you are available for your hearing. If you cannot make the scheduled time, please contact the agency as soon as possible so that you don’t automatically lose your appeal.

You will be sent a letter with the hearing date, time, and the reason for the hearing. Be sure to read this letter carefully.

The judge must also explain in writing your rights at the hearing. These rights include the right to:

  • speak for yourself
  • have witnesses with important information speak
  • bring papers to show the judge
  • question any witness your former employer brings
  • object to improper evidence or testimony

If you are not given the opportunity to appeal or if you are not given information on your hearing, you should contact a lawyer as soon as possible.

At the hearing you will have the opportunity to explain why the overpayment is incorrect or why the amount the State claims that you need to repay is incorrect.

Except for amounts paid by the federal government, you should  also be sent papers to fill out about your income and expenses, and have the chance to explain why you cannot pay the overpayment amount and request a waiver. The federal benefits, where hardship does not matter, are:

  • Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (paid to some people for weeks since January whose job loss was caused by the pandemic and who could not get normal unemployment benefits because they quit the job (for example to care for a child out of school or because of a Covid test) or because they did not have enough “W-2” wages, or had to repay the state for a past overpayment
  • Lost Wage Assistance (the extra $300 paid for a few weeks in August and September)
  • Disaster Unemployment Compensation (the extra $600 a week that was paid from late March through July)
  • Some other unusual benefits

 

 

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