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Connecticut Department of Labor estimates 130,000 overpayments of unemployment compensation

During a virtual meeting with the state Appropriations Committee on August 14, Department of Labor Deputy Commissioner Daryle Dudzinski told committee members the DOL estimates there have been 50,000 overpayments of unemployment and potentially 80,000 more that the department is investigating.

“To date, we have approximately 50,000 potential overpayments that will be worked through and afforded due process and we estimate another 80,000 over the next several months,” Dudzinski said.

The department expects that there will ultimately be 90,000 permanently-decided overpayment cases, Dudzinski told committee members.

In response to a question from Rep. Maria Horn, D- Salisbury, Dudzinski said the average pre-pandemic overpayment was roughly $800, generally incurred over two weeks when an individual continued to receive unemployment after finding a new job.

Dudzinski said that the pandemic is different because some employees were quitting their jobs or refusing to return to work. 

He noted that in addition to the state benefits employees were receiving additional federal unemployment funds, pushing the total estimated overpayment to upwards of $2,000, but Dudzinski said it’s too early to tell.

“We just don’t know, and we won’t know until we get through all the metrics over the next 18 months,” Dudzinski said. “It could be a lot more than what we’ve seen in the last decade.”

Connecticut’s unemployment trust fund had only half of the necessary funds to withstand a recession when the COVID-19 pandemic began, and the DOL faced an unprecedented number of unemployment claims as the state shut down businesses deemed non-essential.

The state’s trust fund has paid out $1.6 billion in state unemployment benefits since March 13, according to an August 4 news release from DOL, leaving the trust fund with $118 million.

Andy Condon, Director of the Office of Research for DOL, said that because the pandemic largely affected those in lower income brackets, the state’s unemployment trust fund was able to last longer than expected because the unemployment payments were smaller.

Although Connecticut can borrow money from the federal government to support its unemployment fund – which will then be paid back by higher unemployment insurance rates on businesses – the state has not yet done so, according the DOL’s press release, but expects to soon.

Connecticut borrowed unemployment funds from the federal government during the 2008 recession and Connecticut businesses paid higher unemployment taxes for years in order to pay for the loan.

In total, Connecticut has received more than 750,000 unemployment applications and has 300,000 weekly claims filed. Thus far, the state has paid out $4.4 billion in state and federal benefits.

Prior to July 26, the federal government offered an additional unemployment payment of up to $600 per week but the program expired. Congress is currently debating whether or not to reinstate the program as states are seeing a resurgence in COVID-19 cases.

Connecticut’s unemployment rate is currently pegged at 9.8 percent, the DOL cautions that the numbers are likely “significantly underestimated.” 

The extensive amount of time that Connecticut has had an unemployment rate of more than 8 percent triggered an additional seven weeks of state unemployment benefits for a maximum of 20 weeks and 46 weeks for the pandemic unemployment assistance program for those not eligible for normal unemployment assistance.

Connecticut was able to regain thousands of jobs in the hospitality and leisure sector as restaurants and other businesses were allowed to partially reopen, but job numbers are down 9.3 percent from last year. 

Dudzinski noted that the department’s Integrity and Benefit Control – or overpayment area – has 16 permanent and 7 temporary staff working to ensure the payments are properly made through “massive data-mining.” 

The department is also contracting with vendors for fraud prevention techniques and pre-determination audits to address “the massive amount of overpayments identified,” according to Dudzinski.

**Meghan Portfolio contributed to this article**

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(26) Comments

  1. Nani grandma

    August 21, 2020 7:58 pm

    I am older single woman been struggling for years even when I was married with 5 children. Now I work as part time which was full time just 38 hrs is considered full time in CT.
    But I fall under the $100. State benefits. How am I suppose to pay my bills. I don’t think this is fair we all of color and poor and discrimination because of color and statue is unconstitutional. Again what about us the real people who are Still inslaved by the government. We built this country with our blood sweat and tears and gave our lives to be treated like this.
    Not right.

    • Tasha

      September 6, 2020 8:13 am

      Are you seriously making this about race too? All people have been effected by this pandemic, in many ways. Not everything has to do with the color of your skin. Many different kinds of people put their blood sweat and tears into making America- that’s why we are so diverse, have so many cultures and are mixed with many races.

    • David Tayman

      September 8, 2020 10:46 am

      i’m white and in the same exact situation though?

  2. Viviana Martinez

    August 19, 2020 8:13 pm

    I am one of the affected since last year in this situation I went to all the appeals and it was denied. Now that I did when to the last step of the appeals in the Superior Court my case it been on hold because of this Pandemic and I didn’t qualify for the Federal help at all. It seem that they should take priority of the cases before the Pandemic and till this time I been doing my claims and still on Hold. It been more than 40 weeks and no answer for my case wish is unfair to me. They help thousand of people but I really need the Help big time and I am about to be Evicted because I can’t pay my rent at all, and I been looking for a job and no luck at all. Tell me about people that they help was waisting there money while others are in a big need. It is unfair for me to be in must need and no help. No even the Federal help they should be a shime the CT Department of Labor get the priorities right.

  3. Jantily Siteo

    August 19, 2020 8:13 pm

    Wow some people recieve over payment “My self never recieve any payment from march until today.

  4. June Rocchio

    August 19, 2020 5:34 pm

    I am a nursing assistant so I am in essential worker I lost two patients due to this COVID-19 people not at work able to care for the sick ones at home taking my job because their job closed due to the pandemic so I’m working with less than half of my normal income

    • Tasha Davis

      August 20, 2020 10:44 am

      Agree, you still have people like myself still waiting on their first payment after approval since june, cannot get anyone in the phone for answers

  5. Lakeisha Whoopi

    August 19, 2020 4:37 pm

    I had regular workers getting paid unemployment from jobs that the either quit or got fired months before this covid hit and they got money from the old jobs they use to have..my thing is when they catch on to this will they have to pay all that money back or serve jail time for fraud bc they both was working full time

  6. Ltoya Bell

    August 19, 2020 10:27 am

    I know numerous people quittted or got fired and the system didn’t do they job cause half of the Americans weren’t effected and essential worker like my self lost hours and was put at risk out in the field seniors weren’t affected because the income was study so that put those in the same bracket of those essential workers out the risking our life it’s not like they shut the world down I was subject everyday

    • Osjha

      August 19, 2020 11:04 am

      Some of us still but are not making any hours to pay our bills.

    • Wanda J Vannerson

      August 19, 2020 12:19 pm

      the reason why I could not go back to work because I do not have no insurance and no medication because when I was working they will our down did not lock everything I had I had to start all over again

    • Katrina

      August 19, 2020 12:43 pm

      I think sometimes people were overpaid because the unemployment system didn’t allow for workers going back part time. Initially, there wasn’t an option for part-time. I returned to work and work only 5 hours a week. Now I do not qualify for unemployment benefits.

      • Tasha

        September 6, 2020 8:14 am

        Great point!!! I agree

    • Mary Irving

      August 20, 2020 10:58 am

      I have been signed up for unemployment benefits with out my knowledge I retired from dot June 1st.

  7. Lisa Farnham

    August 19, 2020 9:02 am

    I think just the people who are unemployed still because of COVID she receive any extra unemployment benefits. Why give it to the people that have been, or quit their jobs just to get it? I’m still waiting for my job to open back up, I didn’t choose to be unemployed.

    • Krista

      August 19, 2020 1:01 pm

      The people did not ask to not work?? Help the unemployed…
      .

    • Roy Lenz

      August 19, 2020 2:09 pm

      I lost my job because of covid. I was there for 9 years. The owner had to sell. He was losing buisness and money because if the virus
      I’m 60 years old now and I’m a high risk but I will work but no one is hiring plus my age isn’t helping i cant prove age discrimination but its happening. I have worked since im 14 and never have i collected unemployment or had any aid at all until now. I need that unemployment or ill be homeless with virtually no living family.

      • Tasha

        September 6, 2020 8:21 am

        I’m so sorry to hear this. My fiancé’s grandfather, same thing and he is in his 70’s . Always a hard worker. Definitely age discriminated against. He’s a great guy. He finally just got another job in security. He gets to drive around the campus parking lots.

    • Nobody cares

      August 19, 2020 3:28 pm

      The government and the federal government has failed so many people wait until the world gets a win of how many fraudulent claims has been made and how many payouts have been made. It’s probably going to be one of the biggest scams in history.

      • Felicia King

        August 20, 2020 9:51 am

        They stop paying me saying that I didn’t report earning that was 5 months earlier now I have nothing and when I say nothing i mean nothing

    • Margaret DeMello

      August 19, 2020 4:04 pm

      I’m right there with you I didn’t choose to leave my job and I’m still not back at my job I’ve never in my life I am 61 years old never been unemployed at all this is crazy many people get money that they are not entitled to sad day in America

    • Yvette

      August 19, 2020 5:52 pm

      I know they are swamped, but I’m still waiting for my 6 weeks of retro and can’t get anyone to call me back. I have left the request for call back every day for 2 weeks. No reply yet.

    • Britt

      August 19, 2020 10:13 pm

      Then go get another job until yours reopens. Those of us who quit had to because our kids can’t attend school, or we have weak immune systems, or our employer was screwing us over. Don’t worry about why people aren’t able to work. You just worry about you and go get another job.

      • Tasha

        September 6, 2020 8:24 am

        Totally agree!!

    • Gary C

      August 20, 2020 8:31 am

      I originally recieved unemployment benefits from CT only to learn a few weeks later I should not have qualified. I filled out the overpayment form on their website back in late April and have yet to hear back. The money (about 2600) is still sitting in a savings account waiting for CT to tell me how to pay it back. As much as CT unemployment has struggled to handle the massive amount of unemployment claims, there are still states that did worse.

      • Corey

        August 27, 2020 10:09 am

        Gary, I have a friend who is going through the exact same thing and stopped once he found out he shouldn’t have qualified. Have you heard anything back from the State yet? He can’t get in touch with anyone either.

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