What must I repay regarding an accidental overpayment?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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What must I repay regarding an accidental overpayment?

I left a job about 6 months ago. They overpaid me the following month in my last paycheck and didn’t catch it until I brought it to their attention. They have requested repayment but are trying to make me pay back full amounts for insurance and still owe me for mileage. I’m am not sure what my options are.

Asked on May 11, 2018 under Employment Labor Law, Missouri


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

If you were overpaid, you must repay the money: the law is very clear about that. Someone else's mistake does not let you keep money to which you are not otherwise entitled (e.g. more than you actually earned for the work you did). If you don't repay it, they could sue you. This includes repaying them the *full* amount of any overpayment, including any amounts withhold from your check for taxes or benefits (though you may then later get that money back or a credit for it from the entity to whom it was paid in error--e.g. if extra tax withholding was paid on your behalf due to due a paycheck overpayment, you will get credit for the extra money paid on your annual taxes). 
You cannot withhold what you believe they owe you for mileage unless they agree to let you do this, such as to settle or resolve all claims between you and the employer. Instead, just as they have the right to sue you for money they feel you owe them (the overpayment), you could sue them for money they owe you (the mileage). Rather than lawsuits, however, it would be best for both of you to work this out--e.g. that two of you agree that you repay them the overpayment less the amounts owed you for mileage.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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