Harriet M. Liedtke, Relator,
Department of Employment and Economic Development, Respondent.
Department of Employment and Economic Development File No. 30012689-2
Harriet M. Liedtke, Burnsville, Minnesota (pro se relator)
Lee B. Nelson, Amy R. Lawler, Department of Employment and Economic Development, St. Paul, Minnesota (for respondent Department)
Considered and decided by Peterson, Presiding Judge; Chutich, Judge; and Smith, Judge.
Relator Harriet M. Liedtke challenges an unemployment-law judge's determination that $3, 933 in unemployment benefits erroneously paid to her is recoverable under the Revenue Recapture Act. Because substantial evidence supports the finding that the recapture was proper, we affirm.
In early 2010, Liedtke established a benefit account with the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (department). In March 2012, an unemployment-law judge determined that Liedtke had been overpaid unemployment benefits in the amount of $3, 933. After the unemployment-law judge reaffirmed the decision upon Liedtke's request for reconsideration, Liedtke brought a certiorari appeal to this court. Liedtke v. Dep't of Emp't & Econ. Dev., A12-1016, 2013 WL 599360 (Minn.App. Feb. 19, 2013), review denied (Minn. Apr. 30, 2013).
Based on the unemployment-law judge's decision on reconsideration, the department filed a revenue recapture claim with the Minnesota Department of Revenue to recover the overpaid benefits from Liedtke's tax refund. Liedtke contested the recapture. An unemployment-law judge held a hearing on the issue and concluded that the department was properly pursuing the recapture under the Minnesota Revenue Recapture Act. Liedtke filed a request for reconsideration and the unemployment-law judge affirmed the previous decision. Liedtke now brings a certiorari appeal.
This court may remand, reverse, or modify a decision of the unemployment-law judge if the substantial rights of the applicant were prejudiced because the findings, conclusions, or decision are affected by an error of law or are unsupported by substantial evidence. Minn. Stat. § 268.105, subd. 7(d) (2012). While we defer to the ULJ's findings of fact if they are substantially supported by evidence in the record, we exercise independent judgment concerning questions of law. Peterson v. Nw. Airlines, Inc., 753 N.W.2d 771, 774 (Minn.App. 2008), review denied (Minn. Oct. 1, 2008).
"A determination or amended determination that holds an applicant ineligible for unemployment benefits for periods an applicant has been paid benefits is considered an overpayment of those unemployment benefits." Minn. Stat. § 268.101, subd. 6 (2012). Any applicant who receives an overpayment of unemployment benefits "must promptly repay the unemployment benefits to the trust fund." Minn. Stat. § 268.18, subd. 1(a) (2012). Under the Revenue Recapture Act, a state agency may satisfy a debt owed to the agency by garnishing a debtor's income-tax refund. Minn. Stat. §§ 270A.03, .04 (2012). The act defines a "debt" as a "legal obligation of a natural person to pay a fixed and certain amount of money, which equals or exceeds $25 and which is due and payable ...