Overpayments are a rampant problem in the unemployment insurance system.
The U.S. Justice Department estimates that an extra $14 billion was paid out in 2011. That's 11-percent of all the unemployment checks sent out last year.
Most end up in the hands of three types of people:
--those who aren't actively searching for a job.
--people who quit their jobs or were fired.
--and those who continue to file claims even though they've found a job.
All of those circumstances make a person ineligible for benefits, but they can still get checks if there is some sort of an administrative error made by the government, employer, or worker. That makes it hard to track and stop completely.
There are also some cases of fraud, but those are rare.
When the government finds an error, they typically send a letter asking for the money back, although some people could get out of repayment if they're in financial distress.
In some states, the recipient can be taken to court, have their wages garnished, or their tax refunds taken.
Despite those efforts, the government fails to recoup most of the money.