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Kokua Line: Can the state forgive an overpayment that’s freezing my unemployment claim?

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Question: My unemployment claim is held up because of a past overpayment. I am back to work but am owed for weeks when I was eligible. Does the state ever write off these amounts, or can they deduct them from unpaid weeks? Anything to get my claim moving. It’s not a huge amount but leaves my claim pending. I put so much on credit cards because I wasn’t getting paid those weeks when I should have been. I don’t know what caused the overpayment.

Answer: You are referring to being paid more than you were eligible for during a given week or weeks in Hawaii’s unemployment compensation system.

Yes, overpayments are sometimes forgiven, when there’s no fraud involved and the error wasn’t the claimant’s fault; decisions are made on a case-by-case basis, after adjudication. Repayment plans also are a possibility, depending on specific circumstances, according to the state Department of Labor and Industrial Relations.

Hawaii claimants whose accounts are pending due to an overpayment should make an appointment with the DLIR to review their options, Anne Perreira­-Eustaquio, the department’s director, said Wednesday on the Honolulu Star-Advertiser’s Spotlight Hawaii series.

Go to to make an appointment. The reservation is made online for an appointment to be held over the phone.

Potential fraud is investigated in “every single overpayment that is adjudicated,” she said. If no fraud is found, the department moves on to considering future payments and “possibly forgiving the overpayment,” she said. Perreira-Eustaquio was asked how many overpayments have been forgiven during the pandemic but did not give an estimate.

The DLIR’s informational website,, says that for regular Unemployment Insurance claimants, “once it has been determined that you have been overpaid and are legally obligated to repay the amount, UI will attempt to offset the overpayment amount against current or future eligible weeks of benefits.” A claimant with an outstanding overpayment balance at the end of the month would receive a monthly bill until the amount is cleared, the website says, emphasizing that all this applies only to regular UI claimants.

Q: It’s been three days since the City and County of Honolulu unveiled its new golf tee time reservation system, and it has yet to work or function properly. For the past three days, I have been calling the new phone number for the Ala Wai Golf Course only to get the message of a system error. Why didn’t they test this system before trying to implement it? … In addition, the old phone system will not permit you to make a tee time while they work on the “bugs” with the new system. This means that no one has been able to make a tee time reservation for next week Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday — loss of revenue to the City and County of Honolulu. This is typical government inefficiency at its best. Please look into this to see how close they are to fixing this new reservation system.

A: The new system was tested in advance, but problems occurred when it went live, which have been or are being corrected, said city spokesman Tim Sakahara. Here’s his full response to your question:

“The upgrade to the city’s tee time reservation system is a welcome enhancement that adds efficiency and helps improve the booking experience for golfers. The long-awaited new technology was tested multiple times prior to being available for the public on Monday, but experienced some technical difficulties. The application issue was resolved within a day and golfers are able to book tee times up to six days in advance. We appreciate everyone’s patience during the transitional phase. The Golf Division continues to monitor the program and adjust as necessary.”

For more information, go to and click on your preferred course in the column on the left side of the page.

Write to Kokua Line at Honolulu Star-Advertiser, 7 Waterfront Plaza, Suite 210, 500 Ala Moana Blvd., Honolulu 96813; call 529-4773; fax 529-4750; or email

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