PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Those who got benefits through the Lost Wages Assistance program will soon want to pay close attention to their mail.
The Oregon Employment Department said it plans to start sending out letters this weekend to people who were overpaid.
According to the OED, someone could have been overpaid because they received benefits they weren’t eligible for or because they didn’t provide accurate information. But if you get one of those letters and believe you were overpaid because of an error made by the OED, you can submit a request to waive repayment.
To date, the OED said it has paid $392 million in Lost Wages Assistance benefits to about 267,000 people.
“With LWA, when we say overpayment, we know there are situations where the claimant may not have yet certified,” explained Patty Jo Angelini with OED. “Approximately 8,400 claimants have not certified. If or when they certify that they were unemployed due to disruptions caused by COVID-19, they will not have an overpayment. We continue outreaching and asking them to certify. Another, approximately 3,800 claimants may have an overpayment because they answered “no” to the certification question, or otherwise received benefits they were not eligible for.”
The OED hopes to eventually receive more guidance from FEMA about when and how some of those overpayments might be waived.
Meanwhile, more than 10,000 people are still waiting for their Pandemic Unemployment Assistance to resume.
“We’re making programming adjustments so we can pay current and retroactive payments to those people,” explained OED Acting Director David Gerstenfeld. “Our current best estimate is that PUA claimants who have not yet received their benefits under the Continued Assistance Act PUA extension will see the payments in the online claim system by this Saturday.”
For those who have hit the one-year mark on their PUA claims, the OED said their system automatically sends out letters instructing them to refile the claim. But the OED doesn’t want people to follow the letters’ instructions because doing so will only slow down the system.
Instead, the OED wants people to continue filing their weekly PUA certifications.
The employment department also reached a settlement in a lawsuit over how long it took to deliver benefits to people. The OED agreed to meet certain deadlines for paying people unemployment insurance.