SAN DIEGO — More than a million unemployed Californians could see an extra $300 in their bank accounts as early as Sunday.
That’s according to the California Employment Development Department, also known as the EDD. The unemployment benefits will extend until March 13, putting an extra $300 dollars each week into the pockets of qualifying Americans.
Not everyone is reaping the much-needed benefits in the new year. Some out-of-work Californians received a letter from the EDD notifying them that their benefit claims are suspended while the state investigates fraud. The agency said on Twitter that payments on claims considered high risk were suspended.
“EDD is informing those affected that their identity will need to be verified starting this week before payments can resume. More details on the EDD website in the days ahead,” the tweet said.
It’s another hurdle for Californians who are out of work. Federal unemployment benefits briefly lapsed on Dec. 26 before President Trump signed the latest COIVD-19 relief and spending package.
“Fraud is an ongoing problem when you’re talking about delivering money electronically, and it’s a collateral consequence of doing everything online,” legal expert Wendy Patrick said.
Patrick said the new freeze comes at a bad time for many Californians.
“This is not the way they wanted to start the new year,” she said. “Their accounts are frozen and they’re asking many of the same questions: How can I prove my identity? How can I show you who I am so my account can be unfrozen and can I get the money I was depending on at the beginning of 2021?”
The letter about suspended accounts says instructions on how to verify identification will come from EDD on Wednesday, leaving many people in the dark about when they will see the funds.