Federal Unemployment Insurance Overpayment

Unemployment Insurance Federal Overpayment Recovery

Federal CARES Act Benefits include:

  • Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA)
    • Benefits paid to self-employed, contract workers or those that are unable to work as a direct result of COVID-19.
  • Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC)
    • The additional weekly payment of either $300 or $600, depending on what weeks the overpayment covers.
  • Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC)
    • Federal extended benefits paid after exhausting regular unemployment benefits.
  • Lost Wage Assistance Program (LWAP)
    • The additional weekly benefit of $300.00 to Iowans who continue to be unemployed due to the pandemic. 

Federal Cares Act Overpayment

Causes for a federal overpayment include:

  • An IWD decision has been reversed on previous allowed Federal CARES Act unemployment benefits.
  • Claimant and/or employer fails to accurately report earnings, hours, holiday, pay, vacation pay or severance pay while filing for CARES Act benefits.
  • Claimant fails to accurately report earnings and hours worked while filing for CARES Act Benefits.
  • Claimant is disqualified from receiving CARES Act benefits due to separation from a part time job while still working a fulltime job.
  • Claimant was not off of work due to COVID-19.

Fraudulent CARES Act Overpayment

Deliberate misrepresentation in order to receive a CARES ACT benefit that a claimant knew they were not entitled to, meets the definition of “Fraudulent Practice”.  In certain cases, where deliberate misrepresentation has occurred, the case may be turned over to the County Attorney’s office where the claimant resides.  The County Attorney will make the determination as to whether or not felony charges will be issued on a case by case basis.  Overpayments caused by deliberate misrepresentation (Fraud) include a 15 percent penalty.

Non-Fraud CARES Act Overpayment

A non-fraud CARES Act Overpayment occurs if you receive benefits you were not eligible to received, but the Division of Employment Security finds that you are not at fault or you did not intentionally give false information or withhold information to receive CARES Act benefits.


The claimant will receive monthly billing notices and other collection letters regarding the amount owed. Should the claimant become eligible for future CARES Act benefits, 100% of each weekly benefit payment may be applied to the non-fraud overpayment balance until it is paid in full (as of March 2022). Individuals with a fraud overpayment balance due must pay the full balance including penalty, interest and lien fees to be eligible for future benefits.  

Collection activities may include, but are not limited to: 

  • State and/or Federal income tax refund interception
  • The Department of Revenue will match social security numbers with individuals who have an overpayment debt payable to IWD
    • If the claimant or the claimant's spouse file taxes jointly, their refund may be intercepted to pay the overpayment debt
  • Lottery intercepts
  • Vendor payment intercepts
  • Wage garnishment actions
  • UI benefit payment offsets
  • Voluntary repayment plans

CARES Act Overpayment Waiver Request

View the Waiver Request Letter

Per Sections 2104 (F) (2), 2107 (E) (2), and 201(d) of the CARES Act, you may request an overpayment waiver for Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC), Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC), and Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA).

Fraudulent CARES Act overpayments do not meet the qualifications to request a waiver of overpayment benefits. Any individual with a fraudulent overpayment of unemployment insurance debt will be disqualified from any and all unemployment insurance benefits until the balance is paid in full.  Iowa Code 96.5.

How to Apply for a CARES Act Waiver Request:

Overpayment Waiver Application Request Form

Following the submission of your application, you will receive a confirmation that your application received successful.  Multiple waiver applications are not needed, as the waiver application will only allow one waiver application request per claimant. If a second entry is attempted, you will receive a message that your application has already been received.  We appreciate your patience while we work all request in the order that they were received.

Next Steps

  • Overpayment statements will reflect the current balance due including the overpayment that is under review for waiver.
  • If the overpayment is waived, please allow a few statements before the waived overpayment is reflected on your statement.
  • The decision of your waiver will mailed to you via USPS.