Wisconsin Labor and Industry Review Commission --
Summary of Wisconsin Court Decision relating to Unemployment Insurance
Subject: Jeremy Engelking v. LIRC, Case No. 10-CV-100 (Wis. Cir. Ct., Douglas Co., August 18, 2010)
Digest Codes: BR 335.04
The claimant received "regular" unemployment insurance benefits from Wisconsin. A department witness testified at hearing that a computer-generated form EUC08-707 was sent to the claimant about the time his "regular" UI benefits were exhausted. The department witness also testified that the form EUC08-707 inquired about wages earned in any other state in the prior 18 months, but that the claimant never responded. Accordingly, the claimant was paid EUC2008 benefits in the amount of $6,039 over the next several months.
An employee is not eligible for EUC2008 unless he or she has exhausted his rights to benefits in Wisconsin and has no right to compensation or extended compensation under any other state’s UI law. In this case, the claimant had earned wages in Minnesota before and while he was receiving "regular" UI in Wisconsin, and was potentially eligible for UI compensation from Minnesota based on those wages. Indeed, he had reported the Minnesota wages when filing his weekly claims for "regular" UI in Wisconsin.
The department noted the claimant’s Minnesota wages when it was determining whether the claimant could start a new benefit year in Wisconsin. It accordingly stopped paying him EUC2008 and assessed the overpayment of $6,039.
At hearing, the claimant could not recall whether he received the form EUC08-707, but asserted that the department knew about his Minnesota wages, as he had reported them when claiming "regular" UI from Wisconsin. The ALJ denied waiver of the overpayment under the standards in Wis. Stat. §§ 108.02(10e) and 108.22(8), finding there was no departmental error as the department had followed its normal practice of mailing the form EUC08-707 to determine potential eligibility for compensation from another state.
The commission affirmed, noting that it has previously applied the Wis. Stat. §§ 108.02(10e) and 108.22(8) waiver of overpayment standards in EUC cases as being in compliance with the federal "equity and good conscience" waiver standard. The commission agreed that the overpayment was not a result of departmental error because the department could reasonably rely on the form EUC08-707 to learn of out-of-state employment. On appeal to court, the claimant argued that he had not gotten the EUC08-707 form. He also argued that the department committed an error of evidentiary fact in paying him EUC2008 because he had reported his Minnesota wages when filing for "regular" UI in Wisconsin.
Held: In a bench decision following oral argument, the court rejected the claimant’s argument and affirmed the commission’s decision, noting the commission’s prior consistent decisions, including Christine L. Aski v. Sun Country Airlines, UI hearing No. 04605935MW (LIRC, December 28, 2004) aff’d sub. nom., Aski v. LIRC and Sun Country Airlines, case no. 05CV000655 (Wis. Cir. Ct. Milwaukee Co., August 15, 2005). Applying the great weight deference standard of review, the court agreed that the overpayment was not a result of departmental error and that the department could reasonably rely on the form EUC08-707 to learn of out-of-state employment.
Please note that this is a summary prepared by staff of the commission, not a verbatim reproduction of the court decision.
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