Tuesday, August 3, 2010

At Fault Overpayment Under Pennsylvania Unemployment Law - What Does it Mean?

Philadelphia Unemployment Lawyer With Offices in Paoli, Exton, King of Prussia, Plymouth Meeting, Radnor and Philadelphia

At the Gallagher Law Group, we represent only individuals with workplace rights issues. Call 610-647-5027, e-mail me directly or send an e-mail inquiry via the "Fill Out My Form" box to the upper right of this page. We will respond promptly with an analysis of your situation, and discuss potential options going forward at no cost to you.

If you need a Pennsylvania Unemployment Attorney with substantial experience, John A. Gallagher has been practicing Employment Law in Pennsylvania since 1991.

Visit http://www.johnagallagher.com/.

IMPORTANT NOTICE OF JANUARY 28, 2011
A new Pilot Program introduced this month by the Unemployment Department  is important to understand.  Please read below, and then Click Here for more information. 

At Fault Overpayments Under Pennsylvania Unemployment Law

Generally, an at fault overpayment takes place when you have received benefits because the Unemployment Compensation Department believes you lied when you applied for unemployment benefits, or after you initially received payments.  The most common scenarios are 1) when you applied for benefits, you said that that you were laid off, when in fact you were terminated for "willful misconduct" or where you quit the job without a "necessitous and compelling reason;" or, 2) after you started receiving benefits, you earned money at another job and failed to report those earnings to unemployment (I see this a lot where people take jobs as "independent contractors."

This Blog is primarily concerned with the first scenario, although certain principles herein apply to all overpayment cases. 

In general, the final determination as to whether you received an at fault overpayment is made at an Unemployment Hearing before a Referee.  Therefore, if you receive a Notice of Determination stating that you have received an overpayment of benefits, you must appeal the determination within 15 days.  Then, you will have a Hearing before a Referee to establish whether in fact you received an overpayment, i.e. benefits to which you were not entitled.

Usually, the "at fault" Notice of Determination is accompanied buy a Notice of Determination explaining why you are ineligible for benefits (i.e. willful misconduct or voluntary quit).  This Determination must also be appealed within 15 days.  Then, the Hearing before the Referee will involve 2 issues: 1) whether you are ineligible for benefits (because you quit without good reason or were fired for willful misconduct); and, 2) whether, if you are ineligible for benefits, you are at fault due to a perceived lie in your application for benefits.

Although there are some limited rights to appeal the Referee's decision, reversals of the Referee's decision are relatively rare.  If you have an Unemployment Appeal Hearing in Pennsylvania coming up, you may want to seek legal counsel. Sometimes, we win on the first issue (i.e. that you did not engage in willful misconduct or quit with good reason) and thus win the overpayment issue as well. That is so because you cannot be deemed to have received an overpayment unless you are deemed ineligible for unemployment benefits.

If, after all appeals have been exhausted, you have received an "at fault" overpayment determination, you must pay the benefits you previously received back immediately, and will also have to pay "penalty weeks," which are some multiple of the amount of benefits you received up to date.

The Gallagher Law Group Provides Guidance to Individuals Accused of At Fault Unemployment Overpayments in Communities such as Oaks, Royersford, South Coventry, Warwick, Spring City, Douglassville, Limerick, Phoenixville, Downingtown, Lionville, Malvern, Exton, Broomall, Lawrence Park and surrounding areas.

If you have a question about your alleged at fault overpayment in Pennsylvania, call us today and we will discuss your matter at no cost to you.

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