The COVID-19 pandemic unleashed a wave of life changing consequences including triggering job losses for millions of people overnight. Individuals and families across America lost their income, and in order to survive, many signed up for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA). Toward the end of 2020, however, it became clear that states mistakenly made payments to some workers who didn’t qualify or overpaid others. Hundreds of thousands of letters were promptly dispatched letting recipients know they would need to return the cash, causing immense anxiety for those who’d already spent the money on rent, bills, and more. The CARES Act allows states to waive reclaiming PUA overpayments in certain cases, but does not require it. Meaning, some people could still be on the hook for thousands of dollars depending on how states choose to proceed. Here’s a look at what to do if the government has contacted you asking for money back.
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