Widow asked to repay husband’s unemployment from before marriage

Published: Jul. 21, 2022 at 3:23 AM CDT
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BOONE, Iowa (KCCI) - An Iowa woman still mourning the loss of her husband to cancer says she is being asked to pay back some of his unemployment claims.

Lori Harvey lost her husband, Thomas Harvey, to cancer in April. But she says last month, a letter addressed to him arrived at their home. It read that he owed Iowa Workforce Development $467 in overpaid unemployment wages.

“Typed up a letter to send back to them, saying that he had deceased and included a copy of his death certificate, and I thought that was the end of it,” Lori Harvey said.

But it wasn’t the end.

Lori Harvey was then notified she would have to appear in person for an appeal hearing over the money. She’s kept a record of who she’s called and emailed in hopes Iowa Workforce Development will understand her circumstances.

“I feel like I am running into bureaucratic red tape all over the place and hitting every wall,” she said.

Thomas Harvey was on unemployment in 2019. His widow said they weren’t married at that time, so this burden shouldn’t fall on her.

She adds she doesn’t have the money to pay now.

“Between this and Blue Cross denying almost $50,000 in medical claims, that they’re saying weren’t medically necessary for his treatment and they were ordered by doctors, it’s like, ‘How can you say that?’” Lori Harvey said.

The hearing was scheduled for Friday morning. Lori Harvey said she was hoping it would get canceled, as her husband is no longer around to pay the debt.

The agency refused to comment on the story, saying it wasn’t able to comment on an individual case.

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