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State suspends sending unemployment overpayments to collections

People sent to collections despite sending payments to DEO, I-Team finds
Posted at 8:37 PM, Jan 15, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-15 20:37:16-05

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — The state's unemployment office has suspended sending people to a collection agency for overpayments until the end of October.

I-Team Investigator Kylie McGivern revealed the problem of Floridians sending payments back to the state, only to be hit with collection letters and additional fees in November.

RELATED: Overpaid in unemployment? Delays in returning money could strap Floridians with collection fees

On Thursday, the I-Team reported more people had reached out with documentation showing they too had sent payments to the state and still were sent to collections.

RELATED: Unemployment overpayments turned over to collections, despite payments sent to the state

In an email, a spokesperson for the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity said:
"The Department has suspended sending claimants to collections through October 31, 2021, unless fraud is involved. The Department continues to work with claimants who have questions regarding overpayments. We also encourage claimants to call the Reemployment Assistance Customer Service Center if they need additional assistance with their claim."

RECOMMENDED: DEO: Unemployment overpayment information

DEO has yet to respond to the I-Team's questions about why it is suspending the action, how many people it has already sent to collections and the scope of any backlog in processing overpayments.

RELATED: I-Team: Fighting for your unemployment claims

Claimants have a right to appeal a notice of overpayment from the state and dispute any notice from a collection agency.

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