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Repay overpayment

What's an overpayment?

Overpayments of unemployment benefits occur when claimants are paid benefits that are later denied for the same time period in which payment was made.

If you receive more benefits than you are entitled to, we will send you a decision with an Overpayment Assessment, which will say how much you owe.

If we overpay you and the payment includes an Internal Revenue Service (IRS) deduction or child support deduction (through the state’s Division of Child Support), you must repay the benefits you received plus the amount we withheld.

Pay your overpayment electronically

Mail your payment

Mail your payment to:

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

You can mail a check or money order payable to “Employment Security Department.” Include your name and client identification number or Social Security number on your payment to make sure we credit your account properly.  We don’t accept payments at our local offices.

If you can't afford the minimum payment

You will need to make payment arrangements. Contact us:

  • Email Benefit Control Unit
  • Fax: 360-902-9270
  • Call the Benefit Payment Control Unit:

    Toll-free:              866-697-4831
    Olympia:              360-902-9770
    TTY local:             360-486-3032
    TTY toll-free:        800-207-0882   

How we calculate your payment

For overpayments due to misrepresentation (fraud),  - the overpayment equals the weekly benefit amount you received at the time you were overpaid, including penalties, or 3 percent of the overpayment balance, including penalties, whichever is greater.

  • For all other overpayments, the overpayment is calculated as one-third of the weekly benefit amount, 3 percent of the overpayment balance, or $25, whichever is greater.

Interest on overpayments is charged at 1 percent per month. Interest begins immediately on fraud overpayments. For other overpayments, interest begins if you miss a portion of two or more payments.

We will not deduct any interest, penalties or court costs from your benefits. You must pay these costs yourself.  If you stop making your full monthly payment for any reason, we may deduct the overpayment from your benefits for each week claimed. We can do this if you are eligible for and claim benefits.

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

  • Your overpayment was caused by misrepresentation (fraud) and you miss at least a portion of two monthly payments; or
  • The money left in your benefit claim is equal to or less than the amount you owe; or
  • 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

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

  • Your overpayment was not caused by misrepresentation (fraud) and you miss at least a portion of two monthly payments; or
  • You are being paid benefits on a federal extension.

If you do not repay the overpayment, we may place a lien on your property, garnish your bank account, or garnish your wages or your spouse’s wages or your federal income tax-refund. Filing for bankruptcy may not remove your responsibility to repay the debt.

Under certain conditions, we can waive an overpayment, meaning you do not have to pay it back. We cannot waive an overpayment if:

  • You were at fault in causing the overpayment; or
  • Your benefits were denied because of misconduct/gross misconduct; or
  • The overpayment is the result of a conditional payment.

Your written decision tells you whether you were at fault in causing the overpayment. The decision to waive or not waive your overpayment is made according to state law and is based on a number of factors, including your financial circumstances. If we can consider waiving your overpayment, we will ask you to submit a Certification of Financial Condition and Request for Waiver.

If your employer corrects your wages or hours, your claim could become invalid, making you ineligible for benefits. If you received benefits on this claim, you don’t have to repay those benefits. However, if you were denied benefits for some other reason before the claim became invalid, you must repay those benefits.

If you received any benefits, we will still report all benefits paid to you to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), even if your claim becomes invalid. We will mail you a tax statement (1099-G) after the end of the year. You will need to make the appropriate adjustments when filing your taxes with the IRS.

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