With the onset of the COVID pandemic in March 2020, the VEC modified claim procedures to permit the payout of benefits prior to its full review of all qualification criteria and without the requirement that Claimants prove an active job search. While Claimants may have received a "Monetary Determination" confirming eligibility to receive benefits based on a prior earnings history, this determination is only one element of the qualification test. Additional qualification criteria include the reason for a Claimant's separation and a Claimant's ongoing status as "able and available for work."
Even though the VEC initially paid out on claims following Monetary Determinations, they reserved the right to continue to review these claims for compliance with the remaining eligibility criteria. Due to the volume of 2020 cases, the VEC has been completing these reviews months or sometimes years following the original application. As a result, Claimants who thought their case was closed may still receive determinations of disqualifcation or ineligibilty.
Once the VEC determines that someone was ineligibilite to receive past benefits, they forward a notice of overpayment and begin work to recoup those funds. If you receive a deputy determination retroactively disqualifying you for a particular benefit period, it is important to file a timely appeal of that FIRST denial decision. If you do not appeal the original disqualification decision, the VEC next will send a determination of overpyment based on the prior disqualification notice. However, if you timely appeal the FIRST disqualification, the VEC generally places a stay on the overpayment recovery actions until the underlying eligibility appeals have been reversed or exhausted.Upon filing your appeal, you will be scheduled for an Appeals Examiner Hearing, where you can be represented by an attorney.
TheVEC does have a new provision for the waiver of overpayments based upon a showing of economic hardhip. To assess the potential for waiver, the VEC typically forwards a waiver questionnaire with its overpayment notice. It is important to complete and return the form in a timely manner in order to be considered for waiver.