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'How Is That My Fault': EDD Says Some Californians Need To Pay Back Thousands In Overpayments

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — Some California workers say they have been told they need to pay back thousands of dollars in overpayments to the California Employment Development Department due to an apparent error made by the department.

EDD Overpayment
Yolanda Barker, an event planner, said she has been told she need to repay more than $11,000. (CBSLA)

Gail Scalise, a realtor, is among them.

"They said it was an overpayment because they figured on my gross, not net," Scalise said. "Well, how is that my fault?"

Scalise said she was shocked to learn that she owed EDD more than $9,000.

And she's not alone. Several self-employed Californians who input their gross income when they originally applied for benefits in the spring of 2020 are now being told by EDD that they needed to list their net income, leaving some on the hook for thousands of dollars.

"I am trying to keep my cool here," Assemblyman Jim Patterson said.

According to Patterson, as many as one million Californians could be stuck with an overpayment bill.

"The right and just thing to do here is for the EDD to quickly adjudicate these mistakes made by them and, simply, do the right thing and what other states are doing — forgive the debt," he said.

Under the federal CARES Act, states can choose to waive all overpayments if they weren't due to fraud, but EDD said it was taking a case-by-case approach.

Yolanda Barker, an event planner, said she has been told she need to repay more than $11,000. She filed an appeal a month ago, but has yet to hear back. Making matters worse for the single mom of two is that her benefits have been frozen and she hasn't received a payment since February.

"As a mom, it's extremely stressful," she said. "I own my home as well, and it's like, well, how am I going to keep this roof over our head on a $2,200, $2,100 mortgage with no source of income since February?"

Patterson said people shouldn't have their benefits suspended while EDD looks into their cases.

"And have it resolved in a matter of days, not weeks or months," he said.

EDD said in a statement that those notified they owe money due to an overpayment can file an appeal or set up a payment plan.

As for Scalise and Barker, Patterson said he would look into their cases and try to help them get the overpayments cleared.


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