Pa. workers, employers have until Aug. 31 to return unemployment overpayments

    Pennsylvania is launching an amnesty program this summer to entice those who have received too much money from the unemployment compensation fund to pay it back without being punished too harshly.

    Individuals and employers together owe the fund about $600 million, said Department of Labor and Industry Secretary Julia Hearthway.

    She says they have an opportunity to pay it back with reduced penalties for a limited time.

    “This amnesty program is for 90 days or from June 1 to Aug. 31,” she said. “It’s an opportunity for those individuals who owe money to the unemployment compensation fund, who owe money to the state, to pay it back at reduced cost.”

    About 130,000 people have been overpaid in unemployment compensation, either because they made a mistake, or because they deliberately misled the state.

    Some 50,000 employers also owe the fund money.

    After the program wraps up, Hearthway said, her agency will step up efforts to collect delinquent payments with a recently created enforcement office.

    The program is part of legislative efforts last year to refinance the state’s unemployment compensation fund and clear its debt to the federal government — with a goal of it being solvent by 2020.

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