MIAMI TOWNSHIP — As a single mother, Daniele Roberson has faced the challenges both of working during the COVID-19 pandemic and finding childcare for her daughter. For much of 2020, she received pandemic unemployment assistance (PUA) pay.
But this month, as she tried to re-apply for the payments under the new federal stimulus, Roberson got a notice that shocked her: she said the state is asking for her to return $19,371 in apparent overpayment funds.
“I’m shocked. Was like, literally, shocked,” Roberson said.
Overpayments are a problem WHIO has heard from others in the Miami Valley about in recent months, although the total dollar amount in Roberson’s case is higher.
Safe to say, she’s frustrated – and does not have $19,000-plus to give.
“To tell people they’re eligible for payments, and then to turn around and say they’re not…it’s confusing, it’s not right, it needs to be corrected,” Roberson said in an interview Tuesday evening with News Center 7′s Sean Cudahy outside her Miami Township apartment.
WHIO reached out to Ohio Job and Family Services, which said it cannot comment on specific cases due to privacy laws.
However, a department spokesperson pointed out overpayment notices include instructions for how to appeal, and noted, while that process plays out, “their weekly benefit will be offset until their overpayment is paid in full.”
ODJFS added, the new federal stimulus legislation expanded authority for states to issue waivers for overpayments – provided the overpayment is not the claimant’s fault, and if repayment would be “contrary to equity and good conscience.”
ODFJS says it’s waiting on more guidance from the federal government as it works to enact a system for overpayment waivers.
Meanwhile, Roberson has filed an appeal, but the stress of the situation is difficult.
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