Overpayment Information

An overpayment may occur when a claimant is paid unemployment benefits and is later found to not be eligible for those benefits.

Common reasons why any overpayment may be created:

  • You do not report wages or underreport wages when you file your weekly claim, and the Dept. later receives information from you or your employer with the corrected wages.
  • As a result of a fact-finding to determine your eligibility for benefits. Common eligibility issues that require additional review are not being able and available for work, not completing a work search-related activity on a weekly basis and refusing an offer of work.
  • Information provided on a new initial claim or weekly claim may not be accurate and requires further review.

An overpayment can only be established through a Deputy Decision, Division of Administrative Hearings Appeal Decision, or Unemployment Insurance Commission Decision. Please review any decision you receive from us carefully. If an overpayment is established as a result of a decision, there will be language in the decision itself that indicates it. Any decision received at any level of the process may include an overpayment and is appealable.

An overpayment becomes final 30 days after it is mailed, unless an appeal or waiver request is on file. To make a repayment by phone using a Debit or Credit card, you may call our overpayment unit at 207-621-5154. If you need to leave a message, it may take 2-3 business days for staff to get back to you. You may also send a check to Maine Department of Labor, Bureau of Unemployment, 47F State House Station, Augusta ME 04333-0047.

Depending on the type of overpayment and the reason for the overpayment, the Department may have the right to intercept your state or federal tax refund to repay the debt. If an overpayment is found to be due to fraud by the claimant, the department may also garnish wages. Please note: This does not apply to a fraudulent claim filed in someone’s name by a fraudster, which would not be held against the legitimate claimant.

If you are unable to repay the full amount of the overpayment, we will work with you to set up a payment plan. You may call 207-621-5154 to speak with a collections representative to set up a repayment arrangement. If you need to leave a message, it may take 2-3 business days for staff to get back to you.

If the overpayment is not due to fraud, you are entitled to request a waiver of the overpayment.

If the overpayment occurred March 14, 2020 or earlier, please send your written waiver request to the Unemployment Insurance Commission at 54 State House Station, Augusta, ME 04333-0054. This can be a simple letter.

If the overpayment occurred March 15, 2020 or after, (during the current pandemic/state of emergency in Maine), and until further notice, you may enter a request for a waiver by going to: https://www.maine.gov/unemployment/owr/ and completing the form. A claims adjudicator will review your decision and determine if a waiver, or partial waiver, may be granted. You will receive a decision in the mail and if you do not agree, you have the right to appeal the decision.

If an overpayment is found to be due to fraud by the claimant, under Maine law, the overpayment is not eligible for a waiver.

The only time that wages may be used to pay back an overpayment is in instances where the overpayment was due to the claimant committing fraud. If this is the case, you would be notified before wages are reduced (garnished) to repay the overpayment.

On non-fraud overpayments, interest does not start accruing until one year from when the overpayment is established (30 days after the final decision is issued with no further appeal made). After that time, interest will accrue at 1% a month.

On fraud overpayments, interest starts accruing at 1% per month the first full month after the decision is rendered and becomes final under the law (30 days after the final decision is issued with no further appeal made).