Kansas Capitol

State Capitol Building in Topeka

Miami County claimants of pandemic unemployment assistance whose bank accounts were affected by the Department of Labor’s recent move to reverse millions of dollars in duplicate payments it had erroneously made to thousands of Kansans can call a new hotline or email for help.

Gov. Laura Kelly on Wednesday, June 24, announced the establishment of those two communication methods for duplicate-payment inquiries:

On June 10, duplicate payments totaling $7 million were made to more than 4,500 claimants of pandemic unemployment assistance and compensation programs. The labor department on June 18 reversed those payments, causing some recipients' bank accounts to become overdrawn.

Kelly said during a press briefing earlier this week that she had accepted Labor Secretary Delía García’s resignation on Sunday, June 21, during a meeting between the two that evening. The governor’s Deputy Chief of Staff Ryan Wright will serve as acting Secretary of Labor.

Also during the press briefing, Kelly said the labor department’s decision to reverse the payments, in a process known as a “clawback,” was done without her knowledge.

Kelly told reporters the labor department is working with banks to identify and reimburse any recipient whose account was overdrawn because of the clawback, including overdraft fees. 

“As governor, I’m responsible for KDOL’s handling of unemployment claims. I am taking immediate action to ensure Kansans who are out of work, through no fault of their own, are getting the assistance they need,” Kelly said in a follow-up news release. “I want to thank Secretary García for her service to Kansas. While states around the country have struggled to manage unemployment claims during the worst public health crisis in a century, Secretary García inherited an agency that had its funding, its technology, and its staff gutted by the previous administration.”

Kansans who have questions about their unemployment benefits that are not related to the duplicate payments should use the Department of Labor website, GetKansasBenefits.gov, or Department of Labor hotline: (785) 296-5000.

News Editor Doug Carder can be reached at (913) 294-2311 or doug.carder@miconews.com.

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