Man Receives 37 Unemployment Checks Worth $14,000 in the Mail

June 9, 2020
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While some people wait for one unemployment check, one man in Oregon received a total of 37.

After waiting months for his money, Daniel Mark was surprised to see a stack of checks in his mailbox from the Oregon Employment Department.

"These are all the checks, and so it's a little over $14,000 worth of checks. Each check has its own check number, so it's not like they're duplicates — they're all good checks," Mark told KOIN.

Mark was initially denied benefits at the end of March because he didn’t qualify for standard unemployment. After qualifying under the CARES Act following the pandemic shutdowns, he waited nearly three months for his check.

When the money finally came in, he assumed the department was back-paying him.

Though his first instinct was to cash the checks, he was afraid because he thought it was a glitch in the system and he would be responsible for repaying the money. And he was right!

“I’ve waited so long for the money and now which money is mine? How do I figure this out?” told KRON.

“I could put them all in the bank, but I’m not going to. I don’t want the trouble, but I’ve waited so long for the checks, now I get the checks and I can’t use them,” he added.

Mark learned he received double the amount he was supposed to be paid, which reportedly happened to many others. He was allowed to keep only half of what he received.

“I think it’s certainly possible that multiple people have been overpaid,” Oregon Employment Department Interim Director David Gerstenfeld told sister station KOIN. “It may be human error, just because we have hundreds of thousands of claims. Even if we’re accurate 99.9% of the time, there’s going to be some errors.”

Gerstenfeld said that anyone who cashes the payments that were sent erroneously will have to pay the money back eventually.

“In a situation where someone receives a check, for instance, if we make an error and they cash the check, that’s not their fault. Those other penalties don’t apply,” Gerstenfeld said. “We do work with them on recovering the money, and there’s actually only some pretty limited ways that we are, by statute, allowed to recover the overpayment.”

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