How to Appeal Louisiana Workforce Unemployment Overpayment Collections

Authored By: Lagniappe Law Lab

LA Workforce Unemployment Overpayment Collections

About Overpayment Collections

This covers what to do when a person finds out by notice that the Louisiana Workforce paid them more than required.

  • The Louisiana Workforce Commission can give out benefits by mistake or fraud. In either case, if you get a letter, you must either appeal or pay back the money.
  • During times like disasters or pandemics the agency gets a large number of requests for help. There can be mistakes giving out the money. A person may get more money than they need. There might be a higher proportion of mistakes during disasters. The agency attempts to get money out to people as fast as possible in those situations.

About Appeals

  • In many instances, the agency has paid person out of more than one bank account or fund. In particular, this is common in disaster situations.

  • You must appeal each notice. Each notice/type of payment must get appealed by you. Go into your online workforce commission account. Appeal each overpayment notice.

  • Some overpayments might go out as part of a disqualification notice.

You can ask for a waiver of collection if you file the appeal timely.

  • If you ask for a waiver, fill out the questionnaire and show supporting documentation. If you can't afford to pay money back - i.e. you won't be able to support yourself with basic bills and living expenses.

If the overpayment gets caused by fraud or by a federal disaster:

  • Waiver of Collection may not be available.

  • The Right to Waiver can be a defense -
    • Never got a waiver of collection and,
    • Not by fraud or part of a federal disaster help program.

How long do you have to appeal or pay back the money?

Demands for Repayment and the Time-Clock

  • Not by fraud - 5 years from the end of the benefit year the money distributed.
  • Fraud involved - 10 years from the date of the supposed fraud.
  • Time limits above may be longer - instances and circumstances can change. There is not always a a clear and definite time-period.

What do to with an overpayment notice

Getting an Overpayment Notice from the Louisiana Workforce Commission

If you get a notice from Louisiana Workforce Commission asking for money to pay it back:

  • You agree with the overpayment and want to pay the money back. Follow the instructions on the notice. You may pay in-full or over a period of time. The instructions are on the back of the notice for how to pay back the overpayment.

  • You do not agree with the overpayment notice and don't want to pay the money back. You do not believe that you owe the money. The letter does not ask you to pay you back the money because of fraud.

    • If there is fraud - the agency can start collecting money you on on any claim you are currently getting. They can also take money from your taxes. 

    • If you don't want to pay the money off and fight the demand the agency can give you a penalty. The penalty is for a late payment up to 25% and the interest goes up. The longer the debt goes unpaid, the higher the amount goes up. The LA Workforce Commission can even take action to put a lien on personal property like your house.

    • If you are fighting a notice, then it is better for a person to pay the money back and then get a refund for any overpayment. The Louisiana Workforce Commission can resolve the difference and give you money. This reduces the risk of penalties or interest charges.

  • You agree with the overpayment and want to pay the money back. You do not have the money to pay back the agency for the overpayment. You can ask to pay all at once or over an amount of time. You can also ask to have the money taken out of another claim or your tax returns. A person can also find out about a waiver for the overpayment and their payments they need to make to the agency. This can be based on financial need and estimated necessary expenses. 

Right to Written Notice

When the agency decides to pay you back you must get a written notice.

  • Notice is sent to the last address in the system. i.e. if you do not update your mailing address such as your mailing address or email address you may not have got notice.

  • You can dispute the fact that you may not have gotten legal written notice of overpayment. A person has the fundamental right including the reason why you get a written notice.

  • A person can fight the original notice that you got that got sent to a stale address. There is no obligation for a person not getting benefits at the time to update their address in the system.

  • The time-period to appeal is time-limited. The amount of time depends on the day of the week the notice gets issued.

If a person finds out that money gets taken out of their taxes and doesn't get an initial overpayment notice:

  • Take action on your own to appeal or find legal help. Act quickly to protect your right to written notice to appeal

Last Review and Update: May 16, 2022
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