Congress urged not to make unemployed workers pay back pandemic overpayments

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- Unemployment departments in all 50 states -- including California's Employment Development Department -- are asking Congress not to make workers pay back benefits they received by mistake during the pandemic.

Millions of workers may have been overpaid through no fault of their own, as rules kept changing for pandemic unemployment benefits.

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Here in California, about a million workers currently are required to prove they deserved unemployment benefits the past two years -- or pay it back.
Most are independent contractors and part-timers who normally would not receive benefits.

Now the National Association of Workforce Agencies wants Congress to let folks keep the overpayments if they were not obtained by fraud.

The EDD says mistakes were made as rules kept changing -- the EDD certainly had a hard time keeping up with changes.

RELATED: New study finds millions of California workers are 'functionally unemployed'

But workforce officials say the money helped honest workers struggling in the pandemic, and it would be a hardship to force them to pay back money they've already spent.

They emphasize they're still going after the billions of dollars collected by fraudsters during the pandemic.
We'll see how Congress responds.

RELATED: EDD admits to waiting on man's unemployment claim so long, it was rejected

Read the letter from the National Association of Workforce Agencies to Congress here.

Read the press release from the Employment Development Department here.

Take a look at more stories and videos by Michael Finney and 7 On Your Side.

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