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Not so fast: Federal workers in Wisconsin must repay unemployment benefits

By   /   October 23, 2013  /   News  /   No Comments

Part 51 of 51 in the series Shutdown 2013

By Adam Tobias | Wisconsin Reporter

MADISON — Federal employees in Wisconsin apparently cannot have their cake and eat it, too.

What could be more than 2,000 furloughed workers who received back pay related to the 16-day partial government shutdown will have to reimburse any unemployment benefits that were applied for or collected during that time, Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development spokesman John Dipko said.

That total could be in excess of $245,000.

According to Dipko, nearly 2,070 federal employees in the Badger State filed claims for unemployment between Sept. 30 and Oct. 12.

The number of claims made last week were not available at the time of this report.

Documents provided by Dipko show the Unemployment Compensation for Federal Employees system paid out almost $250,000 to federal workers in Wisconsin between Sept. 29 and Saturday.

PAY BACK: Federal workers in Wisconsin are required to repay any unemployment benefits that were received during the government shutdown.

More money could potentially be on the way because Dipko said the time it takes to process and pay out a claim can vary.

“Some claimants may need to serve the statutorily-required waiting week before receiving benefits,” Dipko told Wisconsin Reporter in an email. “In other cases, employer wage reports may not be received right away.”

The minimum weekly unemployment insurance benefit rate is $54 and the maximum is $363, Dipko said.

However, state law requires any federal employee in Wisconsin to reimburse any overpaid financial assistance.

If they haven’t already, workers will be notified in writing of their obligation to repay extraneous benefits.

Dikpo said those employees shouldn’t be shocked when they are presented with the correspondence.

“We proactively advised claimants when they contacted us, for their own planning purposes, that they may have to repay benefits for claimed weeks if they receive back pay for those weeks,” Dipko added.

According to the unemployment insurance handbook, the overpayments automatically will be deducted from any future UI compensation.

But if other benefits will not be paid out at a later date, employees will have to pay of pocket, either in one lump sum or over several months. If a worker disagrees with the amount the employer has reported or the requirement to repay, they can file an objection, the handbook states.

If employees contend the overpayments is anyone’s guess, but what is known is that Wisconsin is not alone when it comes to this so-called “double-dipping.”

Federal workers in Illinois, Virginia and Kansas also will have to reimburse any unemployment benefits if they received back pay during the shutdown, Watchdog.org has learned.

But that is not the case in Oregon.

Officials in that state cannot require some federal employees to pay back unemployment benefits because of an administrative rule aimed at helping private sector workers on long layoffs, according to Craig Spivey, public information officer for the Oregon Employment Department.

With another possible government shutdown looming in a few months, Oregon is expected to take another look at that regulation, Spivey said.

Contact Adam Tobias at [email protected]

Part of 51 in the series Shutdown 2013
  1. Shutdown plan: Virginia will carry federally funded state workers until Oct. 4
  2. OKC National Memorial and Museum will stay open regardless of federal shutdown
  3. TN rep equates looming government shutdown with hostage crisis
  4. Government shutdown won’t shut down NSA spying
  5. 7 myths about a federal government shutdown
  6. Obamacare goes full-speed ahead as military pay enters uncharted waters
  7. Shutdown sparks New Jersey confusion about Obamacare
  8. Federal shutdown could furlough 57,000 Virginians
  9. ‘Business as usual’ for PA state government as feds prepare for shutdown
  10. Union plans rally as MN braces for federal shutdown
  11. Only government you don’t know about could go away in Illinois
  12. Shutdown? NM seems OK on the state level, but federal workers will feel the pinch
  13. WI congressional delegation soldiers on in Obamacare-shutdown battle
  14. Shutdown? What shutdown? States will carry on despite impasse in Washington
  15. McAuliffe tries to ride shutdown to victory in November
  16. NM delegation on gov’t shutdown: It’s the other side’s fault
  17. Panda Cam goes dark as government shutdown cripples cute
  18. U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin: I’m shutting down, too
  19. Missouri’s Wagner declines congressional pay during shutdown
  20. GIs take first battle of government shutdown
  21. The horror: Shutdown delays pro-Obamacare video contest
  22. Obamacare device tax ‘devastating’ to TN manufacturers
  23. Did The New Republic call for Obama to dissolve Congress?
  24. 4 reasons to cross the Potomac during the shutdown
  25. Are furloughed park employees trying to pick a fight on Facebook?
  26. Shutdown is ‘boom time’ for political fundraising
  27. Sorry Yogi: Reid calls move to open parks a ‘wacky idea’
  28. World War II vets 90, government shutdown 0
  29. Shutdown shouldn’t alter NM oil and gas bottom line
  30. FL tourism industry is magic, shutdown or not
  31. Fed shutdown leaves Americans stranded abroad
  32. Government shutdown brings relief to Main Street
  33. GOP’s Johanns: People mad, feel ‘duped’ into believing government shutdown would stop ObamaCare
  34. Chris Matthews’ weak grasp of government shutdown history
  35. U.S. senator turns total shutdown into partial shutdown
  36. Fed shutdown grounds plan to airdrop possibly harmful substance on TN land
  37. Ohio vets ready to storm World War II Memorial
  38. Some states battling with feds to keep parks, landmarks open during shutdown
  39. Federal tourist blockades called ‘vindictive’ in Virginia
  40. Veterans’ day: Ohio vets conquer World War II Memorial during government shutdown
  41. E-Verify: Is Obama happy to see right-to-work database go?
  42. Two battlefields raise the question: Who maintains Civil War sites?
  43. Contradictions abound in federal shutdown policy
  44. Park Service losing $76 million a day in shutdown
  45. Nebraska federal judge tells Congress to ‘go to hell’
  46. Shutdown renews call to move western forests, parks under state control
  47. How to make NM less vulnerable to federal gov’t shutdowns
  48. Are senators playing selective service in shutdown politics?
  49. Double dipping: Shutdown means double pay for Oregon federal workers
  50. No double dipping for furloughed federal workers in Virginia
  51. Not so fast: Federal workers in Wisconsin must repay unemployment benefits


Adam formerly served as staff reporter for Watchdog.org.