Unemployment insurance Colorado – overpayments and fraud
Ben Markus, a reporter for Colorado Public Radio, is preparing a report on the Colorado Department of Labor’s hard push to make people repay unemployment benefits, with penalties. Brian Stutheit, of Stutheit & Gartland, and a specialist in unemployment law, is interviewed as a part of the radio report. Mr. Stutheit and his clients describe the very real stress and frustration that repayment demands create. Clients describe how they could not deal with the bureaucrat collectors without legal help. Mr. Markus also goes into detail in describing the assets the State has committed to unemployment fraud and overpayment, and the huge amounts of money people have been forced to pay. Watch for the report next week at http://www.cpr.org/
The Colorado Department of Labor is both judge and jury when it comes to repayment demands, allegations of fraudulent reporting, and audits of employers. Our experience has been that the Unemployment Insurance Integrity, Benefit Payment Control section assumes everyone is a liar and cheat. The collectors there will not talk to you, or negotiate repayments, once they decide that you have been overpaid. I have represented several claimants who were wrongly advised how to report income by a clerk at the Department of Labor, but the collectors working for Colorado refuse to acknowledge that is possible. They tell you if you don’t like their determination you should appeal. So, appeal. There is some hope. Hearing officers are open to arguments that no penalties should apply, or that the collectors are wrong.
Always appeal on time. Your failure to meet appeals deadlines will be claimed by the Unemployment Insurance collectors to be a waiver of your right to protest, whether or not you have a good explanation. They don’t view their job as hearing explanations. They view their job as getting money for the State.