CONCORD – Earlier this week, an article in the Union Leader revealed that the New Hampshire Department of Employment Security is seeking to reclaim nearly $25 million from 10,773 individuals who have received unemployment benefits in 2020 during the pandemic. NHDES classifies these individuals as having been overpaid by the state.
Following the announcement, Senate Majority Leader Dan Feltes (D-Concord) who lost to Sununu in the recent election, issued this statement:
“Since March of 2020, over 160,000 Granite Staters have needed to file for unemployment benefits. Governor Sununu forcing people crushed by job loss in this crisis to pay unemployment back is just plain wrong.
This is Sununu bureaucracy and red tape at its worst. Our government shouldn’t be going after workers who played by the rules and were crushed by job loss during a pandemic, it should be helping those workers and their families.
Back in March, we let Governor Sununu and his administration know that the clawback possibility needed to be dealt with and we worked hard on legislation to ensure the system actually worked for workers, including making sure the computer system would work for everyone and prevent the clawing back of benefits paid under emergency orders.
That legislation was vetoed. As we approach the coldest months of the year, we need to be making additional efforts to help those in need, including providing food assistance, not going after those who played by the rules and lost everything.”
According to New Hampshire Employment Security from September to October 2020, the total labor force decreased by 12,000 to 728,030. This was a decrease of 48,780 from October 2019.