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HB 2040 Unemployment compensation; failure to respond, continuation of benefits, repayment of overpayments.

Introduced by: Sally L. Hudson | all patrons    ...    notes | add to my profiles

SUMMARY AS PASSED HOUSE: (all summaries)

Unemployment compensation; failure to respond; continuation of benefits; repayment of overpayments. Provides that an employer shall be deemed to have established a pattern of failing to respond timely or adequately to written requests for information relating to claims if the Virginia Employment Commission determines that the employer has failed to respond timely or adequately to a written request for information relating to a claim on two or more occasions within a 48-month window and requires such employer to pay a penalty upon his second such failure to respond timely or adequately. Under current law, such pattern is established after four failures, and the penalty is assessed after the third failure. The bill provides that if an employer fails to respond timely or adequately to a written request by the Commission for information relating to a claim, the employer forfeits any appeal rights to that claim.

The bill provides that when a claimant has had a determination of initial eligibility for benefits, as determined by the issuance of compensation or waiting-week credit, payments shall continue, subject to a presumption of continued eligibility, until a determination is made that provides the claimant notice and an opportunity to be heard.

The bill provides that the Commission shall waive the obligation to repay any overpayment if (i) the overpayment was made without fault on the part of the individual and (ii) requiring repayment would be contrary to equity and good conscience. The Commission shall have authority to negotiate the terms of repayment for any overpayment where repayment is not forgiven. Overpayments shall not be considered "without fault" if the overpayment was the result of (i) a reversal in the appeals process, unless the employer failed to respond or timely respond or (ii) a programming, technological, or automated system error that results in erroneous payments to a group of individuals.

The bill also provides that the Commission shall notify each person with an unpaid overpayment of benefits that they may be entitled to a waiver of repayment and provide 30 days to request such a waiver. The bill applies to overpayments established for the week commencing March 15, 2020 through the week commencing June 26, 2021 and only to those overpayments that have not been fully or partially repaid. Finally, the bill allows the Commission to suspend or forego referring any overpayment to the collections process until June 30, 2022.