Although we appreciate that the Department faced significant challenges in administering rapid federal program changes, attempts to collect overpayments due to administrative failings will only harm the families who were most impacted by the economic fallout due to COVID, many of whom are still struggling to make ends meet under reduced wages.
Requiring repayment would also harm Missouri’s local economies, as families would be forced to divert a significant portion of their incomes to repayment. In effect, requiring repayment would reduce the amount of income that is circulating in local economies at a time when Missouri’s economic conditions remain fragile, and could impede our economic recovery. Alternatively, forgiving both the state and the federal overpayments could have a stimulus effect on Missouri’s recovery. Mark Zandi, chief economist of Moody’s Analytics, has testified many times before Congress on the stimulative effect of various fiscal policies. Zandi found that the “bang for the buck” of unemployment benefits is $1.49.