When the Department of Economic Opportunity asked Cherryl Faye to return the $3,300 unemployment benefits she received last year she said she started to panic.
“They’re saying I have to pay the money back,” Faye said. “They say they discovered I had no wages in 2019.”
Ironically, the DEO sent her a complete monetary summary in May 2020, which it called “proof” that Faye was eligible for state unemployment benefits.
In a second letter written in August the DEO presented a different monetary summary that showed Faye earned no wages in 2019.
“Everything was zeroed out,” Faye said, “It was [as] if my wages in 2019 were non-existent!”
Faye said after she contacted the DEO office to challenge the finding and an employee acknowledged it was all a mistake.
Despite the conclusion, Faye was told she would still have to appeal the decision to avoid going to court or collections.
Faye said the DEO never scheduled a telephone conference to review the matter but rather called her when she “wasn’t prepared.”
The appeal was postponed but according to Faye, a new meeting was never held and the decision against her was never changed.
During a zoom interview with News 6, Faye read a portion of the letter from the DEO: ”You have been determined overpaid, this is to advise you that an action will be filed against you in court.”
News 6 contacted the DEO to review the matter.
A few days later, Faye was contacted by a DEO employee who helped her apply for PEUC benefits.
News 6 and the DEO found she is eligible for 18 weeks of state unemployment benefits she never collected.
In a statement, DEO spokesman Trip Farmer wrote: ”Thank you for bringing this to our attention. Can you please remind your viewers to request benefit payments as they become available in their account and we recommend they check their CONNECT account every 48 hours for important updates and information regarding their claim.”
As far as the threat of taking Faye to collections Farmer said the DEO has suspended sending claimants to collections through October 31, 2021, “unless fraud is involved. "
Faye will not be going to collections.
If you have an unemployment issue email firstname.lastname@example.org