FREMONT, Calif. --What would you do if someone sent you two thousand dollars by mistake? That happened to a Bay Area woman had a lot of money suddenly pour into her bank account -- money she didn't deserve and couldn't give back.
Like many others, Kathy Walker of Fremont couldn't get through to the Employment Development Department. However unlike everyone else, Walker was not trying to get the agency to send her benefit checks. She is that very rare person who was trying to give the money back.
"I tried and I tried and I tried," she said.
7 On Your Side usually helps people who think they got a bad deal. This time, someone who got too good a deal needed help.
It all began when Walker injured her thumb. She went in for surgery and out on disability from her job at Costco. A month later, her thumb was good as new, she was back on the job, and off disability. Or was she?
"One of their letters came in the mail one day and I said, 'What's this,'" Walker said.
But she was back at work and no longer entitled to benefits. She called the EDD but couldn't get past a recording. Instead, another payment came.
"I wanted to tell them I felt there was an overpayment, and I had $2,004 of their money," Walker said.
When nobody picked up at the EDD, friends and relatives told her to just keep the money.
All this time the EDD was going through a budget crisis that cut staff at the call center.
Walker didn't give up.
"If I ended up having to drive there and be in the office and stand there with my little credit card you know yelling 'I need to give you money,' I would have," Walker said.
Instead she contacted 7 On Your Side.
The EDD was happy to take the money back and explained "There are a couple of reasons why there may be overpayments...either a claimant not immediately notifying EDD that they've returned to work, or we received notification...after a payment has been issued. We do appreciate any claimant's interest and efforts to repay any overpayments."
Walker mailed a check directly to the EDD -- and never felt better.
"The weight of the world was off my shoulders now," she said. "Because you can't take what's not yours because somehow or other it's going to come back and bite you."