The Plaintiff worked for her Employer for approximately five days in March of 2020. On March 29, 2020, the Plaintiff filed for unemployment insurance, claiming that she was still employed, but working part-time. She was awarded a weekly benefit of $400.00 for unemployment insurance benefits. While receiving unemployment benefits, the Plaintiff also received $600.00 per week from the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (“FPUC”).
After awarding the Plaintiff benefits, the Division of Unemployment (“division”) received information from the Plaintiff’s Employer that the Plaintiff incorrectly reported her gross wages from April 4, through May 9, 2020. The Plaintiff reported earnings of $988.00, while her Employer reported gross wages totaling $1,898.20.
A Division Claims Deputy determined that the Plaintiff was disqualified from receiving unemployment benefits due to fraud under 19 Del. C. §3314(6). The Plaintiff appealed the Claims Deputy’s decision. A hearing was held before the Appeals Referee. Following the hearing, the Appeals Referee affirmed the Claims Deputy’s decision. The Plaintiff has 10 days to appeal the decision but failed to do so. Therefore, the disqualification decision became final on March 31, 2022.
Following the determination, the Division initiated administrative proceedings against the Plaintiff to recuperate overpayments under 9 Del. C. §3325. Two overpayment determinations were issued to the Plaintiff, concluding that the Plaintiff was liable to relay $1,700.00 for the unemployment benefits she received and $3,000.00 the FPUC she received. The Plaintiff appealed both determinations. The Appeals Referee affirmed the Claims Deputy’s decision. The Plaintiff appealed to the Unemployment Board, who affirmed the Appeals Referee decision, finding the Plaintiff had to repay the money.
On October 6, 2022, the Plaintiff filed an appeal to the Superior Court. The Court reviews the Board’s decision for legal error and whether the Board’s decision was supported by substantial evidence, which is “such relevant evidence as a reasonable mind might accept as adequate to support a conclusion.”
The Plaintiff was challenging two issues: (1) the determination to disqualify from benefits based on fraud, and (2) the Board’s determination that the Plaintiff had to repay money.
Regarding the first issue, the Court found that the Plaintiff failed to appeal the Appeals Referee’s decision. The Plaintiff did not explain why she did not appeal. Therefore, the March 31, 2022, decision that the Plaintiff was disqualified from receiving unemployment benefits was final and the Court declined to consider the Plaintiff’s argument related to fraud.
As for the second issue on appeal, the Court concluded that the Board’s conclusion to order the Plaintiff to repay money was supported by substantial evidence. The Court found that the Board properly considered the record below, that the Plaintiff received proper notice and the repayment amount was accurate.
Therefore, the Court affirmed the Board’s decision, and the Plaintiff was liable for the overpaid of benefits.
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Queen v. Unemployment Insurance Appeal Board Appeal, 2023 WL 5202633 (Del.Super., 2023)