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Imagine Dennis Cutrona’s surprise when instead of receiving his first unemployment check this month, he got a bill from the state for $45,339.
The Lawrence man is one of as many as 300 out-of-work Massachusetts residents who are erroneously being told they owe thousands of dollars in overpayments because of what the state Department of Unemployment Assistance calls “data conversion issues” with its new computer system.
Cutrona, 56,who was laid off last month from his electronic assembly job, applied for unemployment benefits on July 25 and expected to start receiving $258 a week. But his weekly payments were cut in half, to $129, with the rest withheld by the state to repay tens of thousands of dollars Cutrona says he did not receive.