Lawmakers Chastise State Labor Leader On Benefits Claw Back

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — Several Missouri House members criticized the head of the state's labor department for continuing to try and collect portions of unemployment benefits some people mistakenly received during the coronavirus pandemic.

The agency's actions came despite an agreement reached last month that the labor department would stop or slow down unemployment collections while lawmakers consider a bill to forgive most of the payments, members of the House Special Committee on Government Oversight said Tuesday.

Committee members said constituents were concerned the department was still trying to collect the payments. Nearly 2,000 cases are being appealed and more than 30 are in court after the labor department moved to garnish wages or place a lien on recipients’ property, The Kansas City Star reported.

Labor Director Anna Hui said the department will withdraw the court cases and has stopped the collections effort until Gov. Mike Parson receives the bill.

The bill the House passed, which awaits action in the Senate, would forgive the nearly 75% of the mistaken payments that came from federal coronavirus aid funds.

Parson wants the state to take back its share of the payments. Hui said Tuesday its the state portion her department has continued to try and recover.