"I accept responsibility for what I did. It was wrong. It was a mistake," he said. "I'm paying for it now."
Vice President Joe Biden is now leading the charge against wasted federal spending through the Campaign to Cut Waste initiative.
The Labor Department predicts that only half of the overpayments can be recovered. Gay Gilbert, an administrator in the Labor Department’s Office of Unemployment Insurances said that only a fourth of the “recoverable” funds have actually been retrieved.
“We believe our improper payment rate has very slightly started to tick down," Gilbert said.
When the federal government discovered overpayment, a letter is sent to the worker instructing them to return the funds. In some states, workers are allowed to prove if they are in financial distress to waive the payments. Otherwise, claimants can be taken to court if they do not pay back what they owe.
Repayments can be processed by being withdrawn from garnishing wags, being deducted from federal income taxes or payment plans.