Recovery of benefit payments.
(1) An individual who is paid any amount as benefits under this title to which he or she is not entitled shall, unless otherwise relieved pursuant to this section, be liable for repayment of the amount overpaid. The department shall issue an overpayment assessment setting forth the reasons for and the amount of the overpayment. The amount assessed, to the extent not collected, may be deducted from any future benefits payable to the individual: PROVIDED, That in the absence of a back pay award, a settlement affecting the allowance of benefits, fraud, misrepresentation, or willful nondisclosure, every determination of liability shall be mailed or personally served not later than two years after the close of or final payment made on the individual's applicable benefit year for which the purported overpayment was made, whichever is later, unless the merits of the claim are subjected to administrative or judicial review in which event the period for serving the determination of liability shall be extended to allow service of the determination of liability during the six-month period following the final decision affecting the claim.
(2) The commissioner may waive an overpayment if the commissioner finds that the overpayment was not the result of fraud, misrepresentation, willful nondisclosure, or fault attributable to the individual and that the recovery thereof would be against equity and good conscience. When determining whether the recovery would be against equity and good conscience, the department must consider whether the employer or employer's agent failed to respond timely and adequately to a written request of the department for information relating to the claim or claims without establishing good cause for the failure pursuant to RCW 50.29.021(6). An overpayment waived under this subsection shall be charged against the individual's applicable entitlement for the eligibility period containing the weeks to which the overpayment was attributed as though such benefits had been properly paid.
(3) Any assessment herein provided shall constitute a determination of liability from which an appeal may be had in the same manner and to the same extent as provided for appeals relating to determinations in respect to claims for benefits: PROVIDED, That an appeal from any determination covering overpayment only shall be deemed to be an appeal from the determination which was the basis for establishing the overpayment unless the merits involved in the issue set forth in such determination have already been heard and passed upon by the appeal tribunal. If no such appeal is taken to the appeal tribunal by the individual within thirty days of the delivery of the notice of determination of liability, or within thirty days of the mailing of the notice of determination, whichever is the earlier, the determination of liability shall be deemed conclusive and final. Whenever any such notice of determination of liability becomes conclusive and final, the commissioner, upon giving at least twenty days' notice, using a method by which the mailing can be tracked or the delivery can be confirmed, may file with the superior court clerk of any county within the state a warrant in the amount of the notice of determination of liability plus a filing fee under RCW 36.18.012(10). The clerk of the county where the warrant is filed shall immediately designate a superior court cause number for the warrant, and the clerk shall cause to be entered in the judgment docket under the superior court cause number assigned to the warrant, the name of the person(s) mentioned in the warrant, the amount of the notice of determination of liability, and the date when the warrant was filed. The amount of the warrant as docketed shall become a lien upon the title to, and any interest in, all real and personal property of the person(s) against whom the warrant is issued, the same as a judgment in a civil case duly docketed in the office of such clerk. A warrant so docketed shall be sufficient to support the issuance of writs of execution and writs of garnishment in favor of the state in the manner provided by law for a civil judgment. A copy of the warrant shall be mailed within five days of its filing with the clerk to the person(s) mentioned in the warrant using a method by which the mailing can be tracked or the delivery can be confirmed.
(4) On request of any agency which administers an employment security law of another state, the United States, or a foreign government and which has found in accordance with the provisions of such law that a claimant is liable to repay benefits received under such law, the commissioner may collect the amount of such benefits from the claimant to be refunded to the agency. In any case in which under this section a claimant is liable to repay any amount to the agency of another state, the United States, or a foreign government, such amounts may be collected without interest by civil action in the name of the commissioner acting as agent for such agency if the other state, the United States, or the foreign government extends such collection rights to the employment security department of the state of Washington, and provided that the court costs be paid by the governmental agency benefiting from such collection.
(5) Any employer who is a party to a back pay award or settlement due to loss of wages shall, within thirty days of the award or settlement, report to the department the amount of the award or settlement, the name and social security number of the recipient of the award or settlement, and the period for which it is awarded. When an individual has been awarded or receives back pay, for benefit purposes the amount of the back pay shall constitute wages paid in the period for which it was awarded. For contribution purposes, the back pay award or settlement shall constitute wages paid in the period in which it was actually paid. The following requirements shall also apply:
(a) The employer shall reduce the amount of the back pay award or settlement by an amount determined by the department based upon the amount of unemployment benefits received by the recipient of the award or settlement during the period for which the back pay award or settlement was awarded;
(b) The employer shall pay to the unemployment compensation fund, in a manner specified by the commissioner, an amount equal to the amount of such reduction;
(c) The employer shall also pay to the department any taxes due for unemployment insurance purposes on the entire amount of the back pay award or settlement notwithstanding any reduction made pursuant to (a) of this subsection;
(d) If the employer fails to reduce the amount of the back pay award or settlement as required in (a) of this subsection, the department shall issue an overpayment assessment against the recipient of the award or settlement in the amount that the back pay award or settlement should have been reduced; and
(e) If the employer fails to pay to the department an amount equal to the reduction as required in (b) of this subsection, the department shall issue an assessment of liability against the employer which shall be collected pursuant to the procedures for collection of assessments provided herein and in RCW 50.24.110.
(6) When an individual fails to repay an overpayment assessment that is due and fails to arrange for satisfactory repayment terms, the commissioner shall impose an interest penalty of one percent per month of the outstanding balance. Interest shall accrue immediately on overpayments assessed pursuant to RCW 50.20.070 and shall be imposed when the assessment becomes final. For any other overpayment, interest shall accrue when the individual has missed two or more of the individual's monthly payments either partially or in full.
(7) The department shall: (a) Conduct social security number cross-match audits or engage in other more effective activities that ensure that individuals are entitled to all amounts of benefits that they are paid; and (b) engage in other detection and recovery of overpayment and collection activities.
[2013 c 189 § 4; 2011 c 301 § 17; 2007 c 327 § 1; 2006 c 13 § 21. Prior: 2005 c 518 § 934; 2003 2nd sp.s. c 4 § 26; 2002 c 371 § 915; 2001 c 146 § 7; 1995 c 90 § 1; 1993 c 483 § 13; 1991 c 117 § 3; 1990 c 245 § 5; 1989 c 92 § 2; 1981 c 35 § 6; 1975 1st ex.s. c 228 § 3; 1973 1st ex.s. c 158 § 7; 1953 ex.s. c 8 § 14; 1951 c 215 § 8; 1947 c 215 § 18; 1945 c 35 § 87; Rem. Supp. 1947 § 9998-225; prior: 1943 c 127 § 12; 1941 c 253 § 13; 1939 c 214 § 14; 1937 c 162 § 16.]
| Conflict with federal requirements -- Effective date -- 2013 c 189: See notes following RCW 50.16.010.|
Severability -- Conflict with federal requirements -- Effective date -- 2007 c 327: See notes following RCW 50.24.014.
Retroactive application -- 2006 c 13 §§ 8-22: See note following RCW 50.04.293.
Conflict with federal requirements -- Part headings not law -- Severability -- 2006 c 13: See notes following RCW 50.20.120.
Severability -- Effective date--2005 c 518: See notes following RCW 28A.500.030.
Conflict with federal requirements -- Severability -- Effective date -- 2003 2nd sp.s. c 4: See notes following RCW 50.01.010.
Severability -- Effective date -- 2002 c 371: See notes following RCW 9.46.100.
Conflict with federal requirements -- 1995 c 90: "If any part of this act is found to be in conflict with federal requirements that are a prescribed condition to the allocation of federal funds to the state or the eligibility of employers in this state for federal unemployment tax credits, the conflicting part of this act is hereby declared to be inoperative solely to the extent of the conflict, and such finding or determination shall not affect the operation of the remainder of this act. The rules under this act shall meet federal requirements that are a necessary condition to the receipt of federal funds by the state or the granting of federal unemployment tax credits to employers in this state." [1995 c 90 § 2.]
Application -- 1995 c 90: "This act applies to job separations occurring after July 1, 1995." [1995 c 90 § 3.]
Effective date -- 1995 c 90: "This act is necessary for the immediate preservation of the public peace, health, or safety, or support of the state government and its existing public institutions, and shall take effect immediately [April 18, 1995]." [1995 c 90 § 4.]
Effective dates, applicability -- Conflict with federal requirements -- Severability -- 1993 c 483: See notes following RCW 50.04.293.
Conflict with federal requirements -- Severability -- Effective dates -- 1991 c 117: See notes following RCW 50.04.030.
Conflict with federal requirements -- 1990 c 245: See note following RCW 50.04.030.
Severability -- 1981 c 35: See note following RCW 50.22.030.
Effective date -- 1975 1st ex.s. c 228: See note following RCW 50.04.355.
Effective date -- 1973 1st ex.s. c 158: See note following RCW 50.08.020.
Government or retirement pension plan payments as remuneration or wages -- Recovery of excess over benefits allowable, limitations: RCW 50.04.323.