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Thousands were called upon to repay unemployment

A programming error caused more than 4,000 Louisiana residents without work to receive notifications that they had been paid thousands of dollars in unemployment benefits and had to return the money, officials said.

“I’m sorry,” Louisiana Workforce Commissioner Ava Dejoie told The Advocate. She said that incorrectly programmed computers miscalculated the benefits and automatically sent the messages to people who applied for two days in March.


The commission has sent nearly 8,500 “cancellation adjustment notices”

; to more than 4,300 people, the commission’s media office Frededreia “Dede” Dunham wrote in an email to the Associated Press on Friday. Most received two notices of overpayment, one for government payments and one for federal payments, she said.

“There are about 20 overpayment cases that have not yet been suspended. There are variations in these cases that require additional steps to be taken before they are interrupted, she wrote.

Dejoie said the inaccurate messages were sent Sept. 9 and 10 to people who applied for benefits on March 29 and 30.

Katherine Stephens, a legislator who was fired in April, told WBRZ-TV that after her benefits ended last week, she found a statement on the Commission’s website that she had been overpaid. Her call to the Commission did not return.

She received two letters on Monday, one stating that she owed the state $ 4,278 and $ 9,600 to the federal government.

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“They’re basically asking me for $ 14,000, and I have 15 days to either pay it or appeal,” she said.

The Commission has set up an email account for people dealing with the problem, says a press release.

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