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Unemployment benefits are supposed to be temporary relief to unemployed workers. They end when you max out your benefits. find a new job, or qualify for retirement. When you find a new job, you usually have to cancel your claim if you make more money per week than you can collect on unemployment. Canceling the claim is as simple as requesting that payments stop. You also can contact the state unemployment division to cancel your claim. If you don’t cancel your claim, you might receive benefit over-payments that the state will force you to pay back, as well as a prosecution for unemployment compensation fraud.
The U.S. Department of Labor added new guidelines around unemployment in light of COVID-19. You may be able to qualify for unemployment if you are furloughed, self-employed, work part time, your hours have been reduced, or you meet other requirements. Always check with your state's unemployment insurance program for state-specific guidelines. Check your state's unemployment benefits.
Cancel Unemployment Benefits: Stop Certifying
When you collect unemployment benefits, you must certify with the state for each payment. Filing your weekly claims certification involves calling into the claims line or logging into the claims website to answer questions about your claims eligibility. After the state reviews your answers, it releases a payment to you. The easiest way to cancel your unemployment claim is to stop certifying for payments. You stop receiving benefits and usually the state closes your claim after three missed certifications.
Contact the State
Another way to close an unemployment claim is to contact your state’s unemployment division personally. The best way to do this is to call into the claims line and select the option to speak to a live claims representative. Live representatives are only available during business hours (which may have change in light of COVID-19), and the wait can be very long during high-volume periods.
As much as the state tries to prevent it, you may receive payments for weeks in which you are working. If this happens, do not spend the money. Contact the state immediately to report the overpayment. If your payment came via check, the state can cancel the check. If your payment came through prepaid debit card, the state can remove the money from the prepaid account. If the money came through direct deposit through your own bank account, you may have to send the money back yourself, depending on the state and your bank’s regulations.
Penalties for Overpayment
If you receive an overpayment from unemployment compensation and don’t tell the state about it, you can be found out. The state performs regular audits on its claims accounts to check for inconsistencies. All claims over-payments must be paid back. If the overpayment is determined to be intentional, the state may criminally prosecute you.
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Michaele Curtis began writing professionally in 2001. As a freelance writer for the Centers for Disease Control, Nationwide Insurance and AT&T Interactive, her work has appeared in "Insurance Today," "Mobiles and PDAs" and "Curve Magazine." Curtis holds a Bachelor of Arts in communication from Louisiana State University.