BOSTON (SHNS) – Gov. Charlie Baker said Monday that there would be “no clawback” of overpaid unemployment benefits doled out during the height of the pandemic despite stories from lawmakers and their constituents who have said they’ve been contacted to repay money they received in error.
Baker, talking with reporters after a meeting with legislative leadership on Monday, said the benefits currently under review are tied to the enhanced federal unemployment benefits authorized in response to COVID-19 and said $1.8 billion in overpayments that went out as officials quickly set up the program and tried to get money to out-of-work residents have been waived for repayment.
The Boston Globe reported last week that as much as $2.7 billion in overpayments went to over 700,000 claimants. “There has been no clawback and there won’t be a clawback,” Baker said. Rep. Joan Meschino, a Hull Democrat, has filed legislation that would clarify the standards used to determine whether a beneficiary of unemployment benefits qualifies for a waiver from having to repay excess benefits, including if the benefits were used for everyday living expenses and received through no fault of the beneficiary.
Meschino said she and many of her colleagues have heard from constituents contacted by the Department of Unemployment Assistance about repayment.