Missourians could soon keep federal portion of unemployment overpayments


JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – Missourians who received overpayments of unemployment benefits are closer to keeping some of the money.

The House passed House Bill 1083 Thursday which would waive the overpayments of federal dollars.

According to the Department of Labor, 46,000 Missourians received overpayments, totaling around $150,000.

The legislation has bipartisan support, passing the House 157-3 vote. Democrats and Republicans agree the federal money, which amounts to about 75%, should not be paid back.

“We are doing this as a body, not as a party,” Rep. Jered Taylor, (R-Republic) said. “We were doing this together to help Missourians and this shouldn’t be a left or right issue, this is an issue that we as a state have to face together.”

St. Louis Democrat Rep. Peter Merideth said the governor should have done this himself.

“The governor can do this without the bill, so it’s a little frustrating that he’s waiting for the legislative process to go through which takes some real time, all the while folks in the state are dealing with letters from the department telling them they owe money, and they have to start paying,” Merideth said.

The department said the average Missourian was overpaid $4,000.

The bill’s sponsor, Rep. J. Eggleston (R-Maysville), said the governor does support the bill.

Eggleston told his colleagues Thursday this would keep an average of $668,000 in each House district. There are 163 districts in the state.

This legislation does not waive the money mistakenly spent by the state.

Residents still have to pay back the state portion, but some Democrats want to see the Senate add to the legislation, forgiving it.

In an email to Eggleston from the department, he said they, “agreed to call off the dogs.” The email went on to say, “The Department of Labor is working to pause the collection process as you requested.”

The measure now heads to the Senate for approval, where leadership also has said they support the bill.

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