Texas Workforce Commission seeking paybacks up to $32 million

Posted at 5:49 PM, Jul 08, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-08 21:54:23-04

The Texas Workforce Commission says since the COVID-19 pandemic began, they have paid out 16.9 billion dollars in benefits.

Spokesperson Cisco Gamez says the TWC is seeking 32 million dollars to be paid back from the unemployment benefits issued to 46,000 people across the state of Texas.

Gamez says these 46,000 have already been notified to pay back what was mistakenly given to them by the TWC.

The TWC may have overpaid to people who were;

  • Not reporting earnings or reporting incorrect earnings when requesting benefit payments
  • Correction of wage errors resulting in a lower benefit amount than initially determined because the wage history we used to establish your claim included errors or belonged to another individual
  • Providing incorrect or false information about your job separation or work search when you applied for benefits or requested payment
  • Having an appeals ruling reverse your eligibility after TWC paid you benefits
  • Not participating in Reemployment Services or other job assistance programs with Workforce Solutions when required
  • Not registering with or with your local One-Stop Career Center if residing outside of Texas
  • Committing fraud

"It's a rare occurence, it's not going to happen to a majority of your viewers," said Gamez to KRIS 6. "The people that do get an overpaid notice, unless it's deliberate fraud, unless they did this fraudulently. There's not an additional interest rate. If they owe $600, that's all that they gotta pay, nothing more."

Gamez also said during this time of COVID, these 46,000 people will be able to pay back what they owe on their own time.

"We're not a collection agency or anything like that, it's just a debt that you owe to the state."

An email that was sent to KRIS 6 from Cisco Gamez, shows questions and his answers.

Who are these people that will have to pay back?

C: Around 46,000 notices were sent out regarding overpayment. To put that in perspective, that number is a little over 1% of the 3.7 million claims TWC has received. The majority of people receiving benefits are not likely to get a notice.

When will they know they need to pay back, and how much is it going to be?

C: The amount someone will need to pay back will vary from case to case. If the overpayment is not fraudulent, they will not have to pay interest. So if they owe the state $500, that amount will not grow and stay the same. In March, TWC made changes so that if someone owes money to the state, they can still get the total amount of benefits owed and work out a payment plan to pay back the money that was overpaid.

A total of 32 million is what needs to be paid back - is this the correct amount?

C: Unemployment Insurance Services estimates the amount at $32,427,767.

Is there a deadline?

C: At this time there is no deadline. If they are eligible, they can continue to receive benefits and work out a payment plan to repay the debt owed to the state.