If you were overpaid unemployment benefits, sooner or later the New York State Department of Labor will catch up with you and ask for its money back. In a Notice of Determination, the DOL will state the reason for the alleged overpayment, note the alleged amount you owe and explain the procedure for requesting an administrative hearing if you wish to dispute their claim. If you refuse to voluntarily pay the alleged amount owed, under certain circumstances, the DOL may garnish your wages for payment.
What Happens Next
After receiving the Notice of Determination, you must satisfy the overpayment amount stated. If you are currently receiving benefits, the DOL may deduct the overpayment from the unemployment payments you are currently receiving. If the DOL determines that you knowingly made false statements or withheld information to obtain the overpayment you received, you may also be disqualified from future benefits for a specific number of days, known as "forfeit days." Further, you may have to pay a penalty of either $100 or 15 percent of the total overpayment -- whichever is higher. If you fail to pay back a balance due, the DOL may pursue a lawsuit against you in civil court and obtain a judgment, which lasts 20 years. The DOL can then use that judgment to garnish, or seize, a portion of your wages each payday, as well as money in your bank accounts and your state and federal income tax refunds.