Unemployment Insurance Update January 8, 2021

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Unemployment Insurance Update January 8, 2021

We want to provide an update on the information we have been able to gather, so far, in the Demand for Payment letters you received from MDOL, Bureau of Unemployment Compensation.

The following is from correspondence we have had with the Bureau:

At this time, the MDOL will not grant a blanket waiver of interest penalties for overpayment of UI benefits that were made to FairPoint strikers.   

The Bureau Director and the AAG feel that, even though the Demand for Payment was rescinded as it was issued when the appeal was still pending, the strikers had notice, from the notice attached to the Commission decision, that interest would be due on the overpayment.  Also, the statute provides for interest on the overpayment.

It is MDOL’s interpretation of federal law and guidance that the agency does not have the latitude to grant a blanket waiver of the interest payments to the strikers.  The Commission can waive the overpayments, or just the interest, on an individual basis.

Where you did not come by this overpayment fraudulently, the MDOL has no plan to proactively seek recovery of the overpayment. It will only seek to recover the overpayment if you apply for UI benefits in the future. If you were to become unemployed and file for UI you may find that your benefit will be reduced to recover the overpayment. This is when you should immediately request a waiver with the MDOL. It has been relayed to us that chances of having a waiver granted is much greater if you are unemployed.  

*There is no time limit for an individual to file a request for a waiver of the overpayment and interest.

Please keep careful records of the correspondence you have with the MDOL both by phone and in writing for use in making your request for a waiver.

Legislation is being proposed that would affect the decision-making process for Unemployment Insurance claims. This new legislation could prove to be beneficial to people with UI demands and filing waivers. The Maine AFL-CIO will be seeking help from all of us when the time comes to be in touch with our representatives to support this effort. 

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