An overpayment may occur when a claimant is paid unemployment insurance benefits and is later found to not be eligible for those benefits.
Common reasons for an overpayment include but are not limited to:
- A claimant does not report, or underreports, wages or pension benefits when filing a weekly claim, and later information is received with the corrected wages or pension benefits.
- As the result of an eligibility issue, such as an employer successfully challenging that an employee was fired for misconduct, and IDES finds that the employee was ineligible for benefits.
- An adjustment is made to a claim that changes the amount of benefits due to the claimant for specific weeks.
Unless you are eligible for a waiver of overpayment, you are required to pay back any overpayments.
Overpayment Waiver Requests
What is an overpayment recovery waiver?
A waiver of recovery of overpayment means that IDES will not take action to recover the overpaid money.
What’s the difference between an overpayment notice and an overpayment waiver request form notice?
An overpayment notice informs you that you were overpaid unemployment benefits.
An overpayment waiver request form notice will be sent to eligible claimants with overpayments, with information to apply for a waiver of recovery of an overpayment. These overpayment waiver request form notices have not yet been sent for regular unemployment insurance claimants.
When is a claimant eligible for waiver of recovery of an overpayment?
For regular unemployment insurance (UI) benefits:
For regular unemployment benefits, all of the 4 requirements below must be found to be true in order for a waiver to be allowed:
- You received the benefits that were overpaid between March 8, 2020 and the end of the Governor’s Disaster Proclamation (which is still on-going); and
- You received the overpaid benefits without fault on your part; and
- Recovery of the overpayment would be against equity and good conscience; and
- You submit your overpayment waiver request form within 45 days of the overpayment waiver request form becoming available and receiving it in the mail. This 45-day window only begins on the mailing date of the overpayment waiver request form notice you receive from the Department which will allow you to request a waiver. These notices have not been mailed yet, so this deadline has not passed for anybody.
The process for overpayment waiver requests has not yet been implemented. Please stay tuned as IDES implements this recent change to the law.
For federally funded benefits:
For federally funded benefits, such as Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA), Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC), Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC), Mixed Earner Unemployment Compensation (MEUC), and the first week of benefits funded by the federal government, benefits that were overpaid will not have to be repaid if IDES determines that the overpayments were established through no fault of the claimant; and the recovery of the overpayment would be against “equity and good conscience.”
For all unemployment insurance programs:
For all programs, the Department will send notice to eligible individuals that they may request a waiver. There will not be a general form on the website to request a waiver under any program.
How do I apply for a waiver?
If applicable to you, you will receive a notice that you can request a waiver of recovery of an overpayment along with a questionnaire and instructions on how to file it with IDES.
To be considered for a waiver, you must complete the questionnaire in full by providing clear, detailed responses to each question and return the questionnaire to IDES by the deadline stated on the form. If additional information is needed, you will be contacted by an IDES representative.
How will I know if my request for a waiver is granted?
You will receive a written determination. The written determination will state the amount of recovery of the overpayment that has been waived.
I already repaid part or all my overpayment. If I am successfully granted a waiver, will I get this money back?
For PUA, PEUC, MEUC, and FPUC, if your waiver request is approved, any overpayment of benefits prior to the effective date of the approval will be removed from your overpayment balance and you will be paid back any money that you repaid or that were recouped from benefits.
For regular unemployment insurance benefits and Extended Benefits (EB), the Unemployment Insurance Act does not allow IDES to refund money you already paid on the overpayment.
What options do I have if my request for a waiver is denied in full or in part?
If the waiver is denied in full or in part, you will have the right to appeal. Instructions on how, when, and where to file an appeal will be included in the written determination that you receive.
Can the Department issue blanket waivers?
Generally, no. But federal law does allow for blanket waivers of overpayments of federally funded benefits in these two specific instances:
- When an individual, through no fault of their own, was accidently paid PUA when they should have been paid PEUC, or when they were accidently paid PEUC when they should have been paid PUA; or
- When a PUA claimant, through no fault of their own, was paid a minimum weekly benefit amount that was higher than the minimum amount set by federal law.
The Department will automatically send a letter to any claimant that fits into either of these two situations to let them know that recovery of overpayment has been waived.
If my waiver is denied, how to do I pay back an overpayment?
Any claimant that has an overpayment will be notified in writing. The amount of the overpayment will be automatically deducted from any later unemployment payments you receive.
If you are no longer receiving benefits or there is still an outstanding overpayment amount after you stop receiving benefits, you will be responsible to repay the rest of the overpayment.
To settle the overpayment balance, the claimant may mail payment with the repayment transmittal attached to the overpayment notice to:
28542 NETWORK PLACE
CHICAGO, IL 60673-1285
Make the check or money order payable to the Illinois Department of Employment Security with the claimant ID Number on the payment. To pay by mail using a credit card, complete the credit card section of the enclosed repayment transmittal. To pay by phone using a credit card, call (877) 820-9155.
How is an overpayment recovered if I don’t voluntarily repay it?
The law provides various ways that overpayments are recovered, including but not limited to: filing an involuntarily withholding with the Illinois Comptroller’s Office which intercepts money that would normally be paid to you from the Comptroller; by taking a portion of future unemployment benefits; and in certain cases, by filing with the IRS to withhold a federal tax return.
Extended Benefits (EB): During periods of high unemployment, Illinois law provides for these additional weeks of benefits once a claimant exhausts the initial 26 weeks of regular benefits (many claimants must also exhaust PEUC benefits, if eligible).
Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC): Temporary federal program during the COVID-19 pandemic. FPUC provided an additional $300 per week in supplemental benefits to eligible claimants for a limited time period set by federal law.
Mixed Earners Unemployment Compensation (MEUC): Temporary federal program during the COVID-19 pandemic. Provided additional benefits to gig workers, freelancers, and other self-employed workers. Those eligible received an added $100 per week, in addition to the automatic $300 FPUC payment.
Overpayment: Benefits received for which an individual is found to have been ineligible.
Overpayment Amount: The sum of the overpayment.
Overpayment Balance: Balance of an overpayment remaining to be repaid or recouped.
Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC): Temporary federal program during the COVID-19 pandemic. Provided additional weeks of federally funded unemployment benefits for individuals who exhausted their regular unemployment benefits.
Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA): Temporary federal program during the COVID-19 pandemic. Provided federally funded unemployment benefits to individuals not typically eligible for unemployment benefits, including independent contractors and the self-employed, but who became unemployed as a direct result of specific reasons related to COVID-19.