Employee Required to Repay New Jersey Emergency Unemployment Compensation Benefits

The New Jersey Appellate Division recently affirmed the Board of Review’s decision requiring claimant, Anthony M. Cibik, to refund extended Emergency Unemployment Compensation (EUC) received, totaling $14,600.

In the case, Cibik v. Board of Review, Mr. Cibik worked for a company that was acquired by HDR, Inc. (HDR). Mr. Cibik worked for HDR for about one and a half years until his position was terminated in August 2009. Initially, Mr. Cibik worked in HDR’s New Jersey location. Around June or July 2008, Mr. Cibik relocated and was transferred to an HDR location in Oregon. He worked at the Oregon location from that time up until his termination.

Upon his termination, Mr. Cibik applied for unemployment benefits in New Jersey. He was found eligible for unemployment benefits in New Jersey because most of his wages during his employment with HDR were from working at the New Jersey location. Mr. Cibik received a total of twenty six (26) weeks of unemployment benefits. Mr. Cibik then received New Jersey EUC benefits from February 20, 2010 to August 7, 2010 totaling $14,600. However, Mr. Cibik was entitled to receive unemployment compensation benefits from Oregon starting on February 10, 2010. Mr. Cibik was unaware of his eligibility to receive such unemployment benefits in Oregon at the time he filed for New Jersey EUC benefits. On August 18, 2010, Mr. Cibik received a letter from the Director of the New Jersey Division of Unemployment Compensation requesting refund of all monies received through New Jersey EUC.

Mr. Cibik was required to refund all monies received through New Jersey EUC because at the time he received those funds, he was entitled to receive regular unemployment benefits in Oregon. In affirming the Board of Review’s decision, the Appellate Division stated that even though Mr. Cibik did not make any misrepresentations and did not withhold any material facts concerning his unemployment, full repayment of EUC benefits is required if someone received benefits he or she was not entitled to, for any reason, regardless of good faith. Bannan v. Bd. of Review, 299 N.J. Super. 671, 674 (App. Div. 1997).

The court noted that “EUC benefits are payable to individuals who have exhausted regular unemployment benefits under Federal or state law and who ‘have no other rights to regular compensation or extended compensation. . . under . . . any other State . . . or . . . Federal law . . . .'” Pub. L. No. 110-252, ยงยง4001(b)(1)-(2). Mr. Cibik was entitled to receive Oregon benefits at the same time he received New Jersey EUC. Therefore, Mr. Cibik’s good faith mistake could not negate his responsibility to repay EUC benefits to which he was not entitled under Federal or New Jersey law.

The Appellate Division also declined to address Mr. Cibik’s argument that his repayment obligation should be waived because he asserted this argument for the first time on appeal to the Board of Review and neither the Board nor the Director decided on that issue.

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