COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) – Missourians would not have to repay millions of dollars in federal unemployment compensation overpayments under the legislation brought forward Monday at the GOP-led State House.
The state’s labor department’s mistakes are at issue, as it struggled to quickly deal with a massive influx of jobless claims during the coronavirus pandemic.
The agency ended up distributing $ 146 million in unemployment assistance to 46,000 Missourians who were not eligible. Now, the administration of Republican Gov. Mike Parson is trying to recover these overpayments.
Republican representative for the bill, Representative J. Eggleston, said many workers who have received federal aid have already spent it on rent, mortgage payments, utilities and other needs and no don’t have the money to pay back the government.
“What the financial recipients thought was a lifeline of survival has now become a debt anchor,” he said.
The House bill, having received initial approval by a voice vote, would prevent the state from collecting federal unemployment overpayments.
The measure would only grant amnesty to people who applied for unemployment assistance in good faith and received it due to an error by the state labor department. People who cheated to get help would still have to pay back the federal funding.
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