WASHINGTON, Mo. – After the state of Missouri tried to collect thousands of dollars in pandemic funds from a Washington man, he may now get a break.

David Wilmoth was told by the state he owed $16,000 in unemployment pandemic funds, claiming they had overpaid him. Wilmoth, who lives on disability, was devastated in a report from FOX 2 last November.

But this week may be a turning point. Wilmoth received a letter from the state, which reads as follows:

“You may be eligible for a waiver of the recovery of overpaid federal benefits paid under the Cares Act, as amended, if the Division of Employment Security determines that the overpayment was received through no fault of your own and that recovery of the overpayment would impose an extraordinary hardship on you.”

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Wilmoth was in disbelief.

“My first reaction was, ‘Well, I hope I qualify for it…,’ a little bit of relief but skepticism,” he said. “It’s a light at the end of the tunnel, I hope. I just have to cross my fingers and hold my breath and pray that it works.”

Around 30,000 Missourians were hit with orders from the state to repay the money. The Missouri House passed a bill saying residents did not have to repay, but the measure stalled in the Senate, and Gov. Mike Parson was pushing for repayment.

Wilmoth hopes this letter is a sign of change that gives hope to others as well.

“I hope they’re giving this opportunity to everybody that’s affected,” he said.