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Maryland bill would call for investigations of unemployment insurance overpayments

A bill calling for the state to investigate and recover unemployment compensation overpayments is circulating in the Maryland House of Representatives.

House Bill 4, sponsored by Delegate Courtney Watson, D-Ellicott City, would require the secretary of labor to recover unemployment insurance benefits that were paid in excess of the amount that was initially provided to a claimant.

The bill would also require the secretary to file a monthly report with the General Assembly pertaining to investigated claims. If enacted, the bill would go into effect Oct. 1.

Under the bill, the secretary would be required to investigate claims within 30 days after receiving notice from a claimant if the amount recovered exceeds the amount stated in the recovery notice. Then, within 14 days of completing the investigation, a refund is to be issued to the claimant for any difference between the amount stated in the recovery notice and the amount actually recovered.

The secretary, under the bill, would then be required to submit a monthly report to the legislature that details the number of disputed claims investigated, the legislative district of each claimant, and the date that contested funds were returned.

Under current law, the secretary is authorized to recover benefits paid to a claimant if the secretary finds the claimant was not entitled to the benefits due to not being unemployed, the claimant received or was retroactively granted wages, or the claimant was disqualified or ineligible to receive benefits.

Additionally, under current law, if a claimant makes false representation or knowingly failed to disclose information to obtain or increase unemployment benefits, the secretary has the power to recover all benefits paid to the claimant, including a monetary penalty and interest.

The monetary penalty, under the bill, is 15% of all benefits that were paid for each weekly claim, and 1.5% interest per month.

The bill also defines the steps necessary to be taken by the secretary in order to recover benefits. The secretary would have to state the amount of money to be recovered, the basis for recovery, including any evidence, the weeks which were paid, and the amount of any assessed monetary penalty, and the provision under the law with the Maryland Department of Labor has determined the claimant was ineligible.

This article was originally posted on Maryland bill would call for investigations of unemployment insurance overpayments

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