Regular UC Overpayments

Regular UC Overpayments

A regular unemployment compensation (UC) overpayment happens when you get benefits that the government determines you were not eligible for.

What you should do about an overpayment depends on what kind of overpayment it is.

For regular Pennsylvania unemployment compensation, all overpayments are either “fault” or “non-fault.” 

Non-Fault Overpayments

Non-fault overpayments usually happen when the government decides they were wrong about your eligibility for benefits. 

  • You do not have to pay back the overpayment with your own money.
  • The government can take up to 1/3 (one third) of your future benefits until the overpayment has been reduced to $0, for up to four years from the start of the overpaid claim.
  • No interest builds up on this kind of overpayment.
  • This kind of overpayment does not affect your credit.

If you got benefits that you turned out not to be eligible for, a non-fault overpayment is the best case outcome.

If you believe you really were eligible for benefits the government says they overpaid you, you must appeal the decision that said you were ineligible for benefits. You should also appeal the overpayment decision.

Fault Overpayments

Fault overpayments happen when the government believes you intentionally lied or did not give them information to get benefits.

  • The government can take 100% of your future unemployment benefits for up to 10 years after the end of the claim year in which the benefits were overpaid, until the overpayment has been reduced to $0.
  • Sometimes the government can give you a 15% penalty and/or penalty weeks. If you have penalty weeks, even though you are eligible for benefits, you have to file and receive no money until the penalty weeks are over.
  • The government can also take your tax return or file a lien against you in Commonwealth Court to pay back the overpayment.
  • Interest builds up on this kind of overpayment until you pay off the original (also known as “principal”) amount.

If the overpayment was due to a mistake or a misunderstanding on your part, you should appeal and explain what happened in your Unemployment Referee Hearing.

You can repay the money in your UC portal. You can also mail a check made payable to “PA UC Fund” to: 

Office of UC Benefits
UI Payment Services
PO Box 67503
Harrisburg, PA 17106-7503

No.  It is still very important to file for benefits.  You want to “spend” the penalty weeks so that you can get benefits in the future.  And even if the government offsets your benefits for a fault overpayment, it’s good because that pays the overpayment down for you.

If you never received notices and find out now you have an overpayment, you should appeal and explain that you did not previously know about the overpayment.

I have a Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA), Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC), Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC), and/or Lost Wages Assistance (LWA) overpayment.