Failing to Repay an Overpayment

If you do not make voluntary payments in the acceptable repayment amount once you have been notified of an overpayment, DEW takes many actions to recover the debt including:

  • Withholding your wages if you are currently employed.
  • Deducting the money owed from your federal and/or state income tax refunds.
  • Deducting your debt from any other money owed to you by the state.

You can avoid alternative collection methods by either repaying the debt in full or establishing and maintaining a monthly payment plan.  After receiving the Notice of Overpayment of Benefits take immediate action, call the Overpayment Unit at 803-737-2490.

Income Tax Interception Programs

Treasury Offset Program

  • The Treasury Offset Program (TOP) is a federal program which collects delinquent debts owed to federal and state agencies by offsetting an individual’s federal income tax refund. State and federal laws authorize TOP, DEW is not required to secure your permission prior to submitting your unpaid liability to TOP.

    If you owe money to DEW because of a fraudulent overpayment or if you fail to properly report your weekly earnings, DEW may use TOP to offset your federal income tax refund to satisfy the debt.

    Prior to submitting overpayment debt to TOP, DEW must have determined that your debt is valid and legally enforceable, sent you notices about your debt to your address on record, and provided you with opportunities to resolve or dispute your debt with the agency. 

    After receiving notification, you have 60 days to pay your debt in full, establish an acceptable payment plan or provide bankruptcy information.

    If you do not take one of these actions, the information regarding your debt will be sent to the TOP database. Additionally, failure to meet the terms of your payment plan will also result in your debt being referred to TOP.

    Before you receive a federal tax refund, the database is searched to see if you owe a delinquent debt. If your debt is in the database, your federal income tax refund will be offset to repay your debt owed to DEW as well as a $17 service charge from the IRS. When your payment is taken, a letter will be sent to you regarding the action.


State Setoff Debt Program

  • The S.C. Setoff Debt Program (SOD) was created by state law enabling South Carolina agencies to report any delinquent debts to the S.C. Department of Revenue (SCDOR). SCDOR then offsets an individual’s state income tax refund to repay the debt to the state agency and collects a charge of $25 for processing.

    If your delinquent debt is offset via SOD, SCDOR will notify you of the payment.


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