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Unemployment office apologizes to man charged $17,000

Aug. 20, 2013 at 2:19 PM

FRANKLIN, Mass., Aug. 20 (UPI) -- The Massachusetts unemployment office apologized to a man who received 54 letters in a single day erroneously saying he owed $17,000.

Ian Metcalf, an unemployed Franklin machinist, said he received 54 letters in a single day claiming he had been overpaid $17,000 by the office about three weeks ago and his benefits were slashed to cover the debt, the Boston Herald reported Tuesday.

Metcalf said he received an email with an apology and a promise the slashed benefits would be repaid about two hours after the Herald called the Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development to ask about his case Friday.

"As of today there are no outstanding overpayments on your Massachusetts unemployment claim," the email read.

State officials blamed "data conversion issues" when transferring to a new system for the error.

"One person having a problem is one person too many, and we are addressing issues as quickly as we can so eligible claimants can receive the benefits they have earned," said Secretary Joanne Goldstein of the Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development.

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