An overpayment occurs when you receive unemployment benefits for which you are subsequently found to be ineligible. Typically there will be a fact-finding inquiry followed by a Deputy’s Decision which denies all or part of the benefits you have already received. If you have been paid benefits that you should not have recieved you may be required to repay them, even if the overpayment is the fault of the Department of Labor (agency error).
If you receive notice of a fact finding interview after you have returned to work it is very important to participate. If it is at a time you cannot participate you can request that the fact-finding be rescheduled.
What should I do?
You have the right to an appeal, and can do so more than once. The adjudicator who determined that you were overpaid benefits might be wrong and appealing the decision is your chance to make your argument to an Appeals Officer. You can contact Maine Volunteer Lawyers Project or Pine Tree Legal Assistance for legal advice and/or representation.
How do I file an appeal?
You will need the following information:
1. Deputy’s Decision Number 2. Claimant’s Social Security Number 3. Benefit Year Ending (BYE)
File your appeal in one of these ways:
1. Online by using the ReEmployME system 2. By email at Admin.Hearings@Maine.gov 3. By calling 1-207-621-5001 4. By fax at 207-287-5949.
What if I did not appeal, or if my appeal was denied?
If you accept the first denial, or if the denial is affirmed on appeal, you may be required to pay back benefits you received in error.
If you received state-funded unemployment, and you are financially unable to repay those benefits in full, you may request a waiver of the overpayment. If the overpayment was established by a Division of Administrative Hearing Officer or the Unemployment Insurance Commission, you may apply for a waiver from the Commission.
IMPORTANT: Overpayments of federally-funded benefits (PUA, PEUC, PUC) cannot be waived.
Your request for Waiver of Overpayment must be in writing and mailed to the Unemployment Insurance Commission. Upon request, the Commission may grant a hearing. If you do not request a hearing, the Commission will make a decision based upon a review of the record, and/or any other information the Commission may request from the claimant.
Please send Requests for Waiver of Overpayment to:
Unemployment Insurance Commission
57 State House Station
Phone: (207) 623-6786
How do I avoid ending up with an overpayment?
There is no way to guarantee that a mistake won’t be made, but here some ways to lower your likelihood of an overpayment:
- Check your correspondence tab regularly.
- Accurately report your weekly GROSS earnings in the week they are earned. Gross earnings include taxes and other deductions from your paycheck and are larger than the payroll amount that is deposited in your bank account.
- If you are self-employed, an independent contractor, or receiving PUA, or if DOL asks for documentation of your income, make sure you provide all the documentation requested by the DOL for proof of your income.
- If you were surprised by the amount you are receiving, or see any inconsistencies in your payment, contact the DOL as soon as possible to make sure there has not been an error.
More frequently asked questions:
- How many weeks will I receive benefits?
- I lost my job during the pandemic, but I have not yet applied for benefits. Am I still eligible? How do I apply?
- Am I required to look for work in order to receive unemployment benefits?
- What counts as engaging in work search activities?
- What if I am required to look for work to keep my benefits, but cannot because myself or a family member/ household member is part of an at risk group and can’t risk being exposed to COVID-19?
- What if my employer asks me to return to work, but I am unable to do so due to concerns related to COVID-19?
- What if I am offered a job, but I cannot start the job due to concerns about exposure to COVID-19 or because I need to care for a child or other family member?
- I need to stay home from work because I have coronavirus/I have been advised or ordered to self-quarantine. What can I do to receive income while I am not working?
- A close family member of mine has COVID-19, and I will stay home from work to take care of them. What can I do to receive income while I’m not working?
- I am self-employed or a gig worker and have been receiving the minimum weekly benefit. How do I know if I am eligible for a higher benefit? How do I submit proof of income?
- If I am receiving unemployment benefits, and I am working part time or earning money from gig work, How do I fill out my weekly claim?
- Information on Overpayments due to error or appeal reversal
For all frequently asked questions, you can download a copy of our Know Your Rights document here.