ACTION JACKSON: Woman says LWC wants her to pay back nearly $11k in overpaid unemployment benefits

Woman claims Louisiana Workforce Commission wants her to pay back nearly $11k in overpaid unemployment benefits

DENHAM SPRINGS, La. (WAFB) - A woman in Denham Springs says she has just two weeks to pay back nearly $11,000 in overpaid unemployment benefits. She qualified for the assistance back in April, but says now, the Louisiana Workforce Commission (LWC) wants it back.

“It wasn’t the condition. No one was told, ‘Hey, we’re going to give it to you now and in four months or in whatever time this is done, y’all have to pay this back.' I wouldn’t have done it if I had known I would have had to turn around and pay $10,000 back,” said Mellisa Ganderton.

Ganderton says she initially did not qualify for the federal aid when she applied after losing her job during the pandemic. However, she says she received a re-determination notice saying she did qualify.

“It’s a slap in the face because the only reason I went on unemployment is because of the coronavirus, and then to use that money to pay my bills, feed my kids, rent, all of that stuff. Now they’re going through it and they’re saying who does and doesn’t qualify and they’re asking for the money back. And it’s like, why? And it’s not my fault. I didn’t misrepresent, you had all my records, you contacted my employer, so I don’t understand where this is coming from,” said Ganderton.

A spokesperson for LWC says they’re aware of the issue, but did not say how many others are in the same situation or what their plans are to correct the problem.

“To turn around a month after it ends and be told, ‘Hey, we screwed up, we messed up, and you gotta' pay us back.’ No, it’s not right,” said Ganderton.

Ganderton has filed an appeal with the agency.

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