A recent Boston Globe article reported that the Massachusetts Department of Unemployment Assistance made more than 719,000 overpayments to UI recipients over the past two years totally $2.7 billion. These were claimants that, for a multitude of reasons, were either paid too much or not eligible for benefits in the first place. Now, the Baker administration is attempting to recover these funds. It is important to note, only a portion of this amount was attributable to the state UI fund, the vast majority of the $2.7 billion was federal PUA funding.
Some lawmakers are seeking to hold overpayment recipients harmless for the money that must now be repaid to the state. On two separate occasions last year, NFIB opposed legislation that waived overpayments because the funds would be deducted from an already battered UI fund.
NFIB is demanding that whatever the state decides regarding forgiveness of overpayments, employers should not be liable for the cost. It is unfair to have the cost of overpayments fall on the backs of Massachusetts businesses, especially since the legislature only provided a mere $500 million in federal ARPA aid to shore-up the UI Trust Fund. If Massachusetts opts to waive overpayments, they must use federal dollars or other revenue sources to cover the expense instead of relying on employer UI tax contributions.
We urge small business owners to contact lawmakers and tell them if the state waives overpayments, they should use the billions of dollars in federal aid Massachusetts received, not small business UI taxes. Click here to take action now!