Richmond, VA – In a shockingly unfortunate and unsurprising snafu, the Virginia Employment Commission overpaid 35,000 people what they were owed through the CARES Act.
From the Virginia Mercury: “The good news: After waiting weeks for the state to set up an online system to allow self-employed workers to collect pandemic assistance through the CARES Act, people began receiving their first checks last week. The bad news: Just over 35,000 of them were overpaid between $600 and $1,200 — money the state says will be deducted from future checks.
Self-employed workers and independent contractors — a category that ranges from Uber drivers to freelancers — are not eligible for unemployment benefits under the traditional unemployment insurance program, which is funded by payroll taxes traditional employers pay but self-employed workers don’t. To change that, Congress created a special pandemic unemployment assistance program through the CARES Act, which President Donald Trump signed on March 27. It authorized traditional benefits calculated based on past earnings along with a temporary emergency increase of $600 a week.”
“In a time of severe economic uncertainty, Northam’s administration failed to protect Virginia families,” said RPV Chairman Jack Wilson. “When Virginians are confused and frustrated with an unemployment bureaucracy that was slow to get benefits out, it seems particularly cruel to give families money and then tell them they have to basically give it back next month. Many of those families bought groceries and paid rent and are not in the position to lose $1,200 in benefits. This is just another embarrassment for Governor Northam. Virginia continues to rank near last in COVID-19 testing and instead of improving, we’re apologizing for screwing up.”