Unemployment rates soared when COVID-19 hit the U.S. While pandemic relief programs allowed millions to meet their basic needs, a new problem emerged: overpayments. Overpayments occur when state agencies give claimants benefits they were not entitled to. While most claimants were not at fault for these mistakes, millions are now expected to repay benefits they spent months ago. Thus far, the U.S. has prioritized fraud detection over this overpayment crisis. This misguided effort is representative of the destructive, individualistic American welfare culture at large. This note advocates for a solution rooted in collectivist European values: amending the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security ("CARES") Act to require blanket waivers for all no-fault COVID-related overpayments. This solution would support both states and individual claimants as they recover from the financial devastation of COVID-19.
Allison R. Mastrangelo, Who Bears the Burden? A Collectivist Approach to Resolving Pandemic Relief Overpayments, 24 Marq. Ben & Soc. Welfare L. Rev. 229 (2023).