Westlake college student among 24,000 others told to pay unemployment back

Westlake college student among 24,000 others told to pay unemployment back

WESTLAKE, Ohio (WOIO) - A 21-year-old college student from Westlake who also served as a waitress prior to the coronavirus crisis claims she had to fight the state for six weeks to prove she deserved unemployment.

Now, Marnie Behan tells 19 News she’ll fight to keep what she feels she’s owed.

After receiving four unemployment checks from the State of Ohio due to the work stoppage caused by the coronavirus, Behan said she was shocked when she received a notice saying she owed money, instead of an unemployment check.

The notice stated that the waitress, who hasn’t worked at Buffalo Wild Wings since March 14, had been overpaid benefits she was not entitled to.

The state told Behan that she needed to pay nearly $3,000 in 45 days.

The Ohio State student was beside herself.

“I started crying. A lot of things were going through my head, I was really upset. I was stressed and frustrated. Because it took six weeks for me to be approved for it in the first place," Behan said.

A spokesperson for the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services told 19 News:

The most common non-fraud type of overpayments are tied to appeal reversals. A person applies for unemployment and indicates they were let go due to company policy. But the employer fails to provide details of the company policy. So a determination is made to allow benefits. But upon review, more information is received and the declaring is reversed, and it’s determined an overpayment was made.

But Behan said she met all the requirements, so she’s appealing.

“Knowing that I am qualified, I appealed it... and I’ve been fighting it since,” Behan said.

The Ohio State student is trying to get a hearing on the issue, and she advises anyone else with a similar problem to not give up.

“I would say fight because I think it is just a glitch in the system or a misunderstanding,” Behan said.

According to Job and Family Services, approximately 24,000 people may seem like a lot of people to pay the unemployment money back.

But according to the state, that number is 3.5% of the more than 680,000 who have received benefits so far.

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