Missouri lawmakers working on legislation to forgive unemployment overpayments

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ST. LOUIS COUNTY, Mo. – A north St. Louis County resident tells FOX 2 the state of Missouri wants her to repay $21,000 in unemployment funds.

Latonya Bailey got the funds to help her through the pandemic. The state says she was overpaid and must pay the money back, money she says she doesn’t have.

She’s not alone. Lori and Brad Pollina of south St. Louis County are in the same boat.

Lori, who is legally blind, says the Missouri Labor Department told her to repay $7,300 that she was overpaid. In both these cases, the mistake was not due to anything the recipient did.

Elliott Davis spoke with Missouri State Senator Doug Beck of Affton, who says a bipartisan group of legislators are trying to help fearful citizens.

The House passed a measure 157-3 on a bipartisan vote to forgive repayment of the federal money overpaid. Now, the Senate is working on legislation to forgive the federal and state money overpaid, about $148 million.

One sticking point has been Governor Mike Parson. At first, the governor was hesitant, but he’s now softened to the idea of forgiving the federal portion of the money overpaid

Parson has resisted forgiving repayment of the state funds. Senator Beck says both should be forgiven.

“I’m looking at these working folks, people who are just trying to make ends meet, and now we’re going to slap them in the face,” Beck said.

FOX 2 reached out to the governor’s office for comment but we did not hear back.

Senator Beck says there is a bipartisan effort to pass this legislation. He’s not sure how long that will take.

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