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Repay overpayment

What is an overpayment?

Overpayments of unemployment benefits occur when claimants are paid benefits that are later denied.

If you receive more benefits than you are entitled to, we will send you a decision letter with an Overpayment Assessment, which will say how much you owe. If the denial includes deductions for the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) or child support, you must repay the benefits you received plus the amount deducted.

How to make a payment

Pay online:
Have your bank account and routing number ready.

By mail
Make your check or money order payable to “Employment Security Department.” Include your name and customer identification number or Social Security number on your payment to ensure we credit your account properly. We are unable to accept payments at our local offices.

Employment Security Department
Benefit Payment Control
P.O. Box 24928
Seattle, WA 98124-0928

Payment plans & interest

Minimum monthly payments
If your overpayment was not caused by fraud, your monthly payment equals one-third of your weekly benefit amount, 3 percent of the total overpayment balance, or $25, whichever is greater.

If your overpayment was caused by fraud, your minimum monthly payment equals your weekly benefit amount (at the time you were overpaid) or 3 percent of the total outstanding balance when the billing statement is mailed, whichever is greater.

Interest on overpayments is charged at 1 percent per month. Interest begins immediately on the principal and penalty balance of fraud overpayments. For non-fraud overpayments, interest begins on the principal balance if you miss a portion of two or more minimum monthly payments.

If you can't afford the minimum monthly 
You will need to make payment arrangements by contacting the Benefit Payment Control office.

Toll-free: 866-697-4831
Olympia: 360-902-9770
Fax: 866-610-9235
Washington Relay Service: 711

If you miss payments or refuse to pay

Missed payments
If you stop making your minimum monthly payment for any reason, we may deduct from your benefits.  If you are receiving benefits we can withhold half or all of your benefits each week you claim  to repay the principal balance of your overpayment.  We will not deduct any interest, penalties, or court costs from your benefits. You must pay these costs yourself. 

We will deduct 50 percent of your benefits payable for the week(s) if:

  • Your overpayment was not caused by fraud.

We will deduct 100 percent of your benefits payable for the week(s) if:

  • Your overpayment was caused by fraud
  • The money left in your benefit claim is equal to or less than the amount you owe
  • You ask us to cancel your old claim in order to file a new claim
  • You asked us to deduct it to pay off your overpayment faster

Refusal to pay
We may file a lien in Superior Court against your real or personal property to secure the debt if your account becomes past due.  This could result in a garnishment of your wages or bank account.  We may deduct from your federal income tax-refund or lottery winnings. Filing for bankruptcy may not remove your responsibility to repay the debt.

Find out why you were overpaid

To find out why you were overpaid, call the claims center at 800-318-6022. Choose option 7 and then option 8 to speak to an agent.

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