Pa. Unemployment fund offering amnesty to those who owe
By Stacy Wescoe, LVB.com
The Department of Labor & Industry’s unemployment compensation amnesty program aimed at recouping monies owed to the state’s UC fund is in its final month.
The UC Amnesty Program, the first of its kind in the state, began on June 1 and runs through the end of August.
“This is the first time, that we know of, that a state has done a UC amnesty,” spokeswoman Sara Goulet said.
Claimants who have received more UC benefits than they were entitled to and employers who have not made mandatory tax contributions to the UC Trust Fund have until midnight Aug. 31 to repay monies owed at what Goulet referred to as “the best deal.”
She said more than 92,000 individual claimants and 50,000 businesses owe money to the fund.
The largest amount owed is from those who knowingly tried to defraud the fund, Goulet said. They owe $274 million to the fund. Under the amnesty program, they have to pay what they owe, but only half of the penalties and interest owed.
That’s a similar deal for employers who owe a total of about $257 million to the fund, statewide. She said all taxes owed must be paid, but they only pay half of the interest during the amnesty.
She said there is also a group of individuals that are considered to owe money unwittingly, because of a misunderstanding over filing. That group owes about $81 million, but Goulet said they are only being asked to pay back half of what they owe, because the misfiling was unintentional.
While the department hasn’t released the amount recouped so far, Goulet said everyone is pleased with the response so far.
“It’s difficult to say what our goal is because we didn’t have anything to base it on because this has never been done before, but we feel anything we get back is a bonus because it goes back into the UC fund,” she said.
More information on the amnesty program can be found at makeitright.pa.gov.