What Does “Liens” Mean?

During an unemployment compensation overpayment, whether fault or non-fault, sometimes a lien is placed upon your property or some other asset. When the required money is not made, the government could move to take this due money by requiring this asset. Many types of liens exist. However, the definition of a lien is basic and only varies by subject.

Lien – a legal claim attached to an asset that must be paid before that asset becomes available for use again.

For example, when a Tesla vehicle owner continually receives parking fines and doesn’t pay them, an attendant might recognize that the vehicle has outstanding fines and alert the authorities. They place a boot on the car. The Tesla hasn’t lost its value, but it’s now unusable by the owner until the fines have been sorted out.

A lien is similar because it acts as security that the required money will be paid.

UC Overpayment Liens

When an overpayment on unemployment compensation occurs, the PA Department of Labor and Industry sometimes files a statutory lien against those who have not yet paid fault overpayments. The lien connects to real and personal property. The outstanding overpayment must be paid before the lien will be lifted from the property.

For example, Annette buys her dream car, a Jeep Wrangler, with the help of a bank loan. The bank places a lien on the vehicle and retains the title of the Jeep Wrangler until the loan has been paid off. After a few months of payments, Annette still loves her car but wants to stop paying off the loan. So she does. The bank threatens to repossess the vehicle so Annette tries to sell the Jeep, but she can’t because she does not own the title until she’s finished paying off the loan. The lien ensures that Annette fulfills her duty to the bank, whether she pays for the car or the bank repossesses the car.

In the same way, a UC overpayment lien ensures that individuals do not take advantage of the Unemployment Compensation system, especially after being caught in fault overpayment. If someone doesn’t pay an outstanding overpayment and tries to file for UC benefits in the future, that money may be used to pay off the unpaid balance of the overpayment.

What Do I Do about a Fault Overpayment and Lien?

First of all, are you at fault for receiving an overpayment of unemployment compensation? If you are at fault, which means that you have misrepresented or withheld information relating to your eligibility for UC benefits, you are required to repay the overpayment balance. To ensure this happens, the department sometimes places a lien on your property.

The best thing to do about a fault overpayment and lien is to pay back the money as soon as possible. However, if you believe that you have been falsely labeled at fault for an overpayment, reach out to an unemployment lawyer because he or she knows how to fight this false accusation.


If you know you were not at fault for an overpayment, contact an unemployment lawyer now to hear your legal options.

Chat with an unemployment attorney: (412) 626-5626 or lawyer@lawkm.com.