Program Targets Employed People Who Got Unemployment Money

By Steve Jackson

The Washington Employment Security Department says a new program with the Federal Treasury has allowed them to collect money from people who received unemployment payments, who actually were working.
 
The Treasury Offset program, or TOPS, uses computers to compare IRS files with those who filed for Unemployment benefits. Employment security spokeswoman Susan Gordon says "before we submit their names to the IRS, we send them a warning letter saying you’ve been asked to repay, and since you haven’t we will be sending your name to the IRS, and any income tax money that you are due, will be offset to pay this debt that you owe us.”
 
Those who ignore warnings from her agency have their tax refund reduced by the federal government by the amount owed to Employment Security.

In 2013, Employment Security was able to recoup about $78 million, out of the $1.8 billion paid out in benefits last year. This year, Gordon says they believe they will recoup 90 million dollars.
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