SACRAMENTO, Calif — A bit of good news for people stuck waiting for days to verify their identity with California's Employment Development Department (EDD). EDD said it is extending the time people have to complete their verification to 30 days, up from the initial 10-day period.
Our Dollars and Sense team has heard from many viewers who couldn't get through to a live chat with ID.me -- the company EDD uses for identity verification. Many were concerned that if they could not get through within the 10-day window, EDD would cancel their unemployment benefits.
In the past few days, we have heard from people waiting three days or longer trying to get through.
ID.me has been overwhelmed after EDD temporarily suspended 1.4 million accounts on New Year's Eve, and required people to verify their identities to resume benefits.
ID.me requires people to provide two forms of identification and take a selfie scan to prove the person is who they say they are. When it works, the process can be fairly quick, but we've heard from a lot of people, like Liz Reinstein, who ran into some problems.
"They didn't verify me, but they got my information. That's what happened. So, the whole process of verifying me stopped." Reinstein said. "They say there's something. Either, things don't match up, you know, your address in your license or something. They don't tell you what."
From there, Reinstein was sent to meet with an ID.me trusted referee, only to find herself waiting for days.
"The main thing that's scary here is that it says if you don't identify yourself, and we don't get verification of you, within X amount of days... they will cancel your claim, and you won't get your benefits," Reinstein said.
The extension of the deadline is good news for people who have not yet been able to get through to ID.me, but also likely means some people will be waiting even longer to resume benefits. Also, once you do manage to verify your identification with ID.me, EDD said it may take up to 30 days for your benefits to finally clear.
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EDD statement on extending the verification deadline
Claimants who received an official EDD notification in their UI Online account to verify their identity with ID.me were advised to verify their identity within 10 days of the notice, but the EDD is extending that window of time to 30 days due to the current wait times for an ID.me trusted referee. This will provide claimants every opportunity to validate their identities before an EDD notice of disqualification is issued.
Due to the high demand placed on ID.me between new claims for benefits and existing claims suspended following fraud screening results, wait times are unusually high for reaching an ID.me representative for assistance. We strongly encourage claimants review the ID.me guidance provided to fully utilize the self-service for validating identity and avoid the wait times for an ID.me trusted referee via a video chat.
How to use ID.me
If you need help with the ID.me process, you can find a step-by-step guide here. EDD says uploading your documents online is the quickest way to verify your identity but ID.me also offers a video call option.
ID.me says you might have trouble using the service to verify your identity if:
- You recently moved.
- Your credit report is locked or frozen.
- Your credit profile contains incorrect information.
- You already verified your identity using ID.me.
- Your submission has an error or typo.
- You submitted expired documents.
- You submitted an unreadable photo.
- You submitted a phone number that is not associated with your name and address.
In these cases, ID.me would likely need to verify using a trusted referee.
ID.me steps for verifying your identity.
Setup your ID.me account
- Check your inbox for an email from ID.me. Click the button in the email to confirm your email address. Then, return to your browser. The page will automatically move forward to the next step.
Secure your account
- Choose an option for multi-factor authentication (MFA). You can receive a passcode via text message or phone call. You can also choose one of the other listed methods which use a phone app or physical key fob to securely send the passcode.
- Most people choose to send the passcode to their phone. Just enter your phone number and then check your text messages or answer the phone to receive your 6-digit passcode.
- Back on your browser, enter the 6-digit passcode and click continue.
- If you want, you can generate and save a recovery code. The recovery code allows you to access your account even if you don’t have the phone or device you used to set up MFA.
Verify your identity
- Choose a document type to submit: driver’s license, state ID, passport, or passport card.
- Either upload existing photos from your desktop OR type in the phone number of a cell phone that can take pictures. If you choose to take pictures with your phone, ID.me will text you a secure link that will open your phone camera.
- Follow the instructions to take pictures of your ID. For a driver’s license, state ID, or passport card, remember to take a photo of the front and back. When you’re satisfied with the photos, click continue.
- Follow the instructions to take a video selfie. Ensure you’re in a well-lit area. You’ll be asked to look at the colors on your phone screen while ID.me takes a short video selfie to verify that you’re really you.
- The final step to verify your identity is to enter your Social Security number.
Confirm and authorize
- Make sure that all your information is accurate and complete. If it is, check the box attesting that the information is accurate, and then click continue. If not, hit the edit buttons to make changes.
- You’ll see a message saying that your identity has been successfully verified. By clicking “Allow and continue,” ID.me will be able to send your information to the agency and you will be granted access to your account.
Viewer tips to expedite the identification process
A viewer working through the ID.me process talked with a representative of EDD on the phone and shared these tips to help you verify your identity more quickly:
- You should provide your non-expired state ID or passport as your primary ID.
- When it comes to the secondary ID, the EDD rep said the W2 would take the least amount of time to verify because employer information is already in the state system.
- If you do not have your W2 for 2019, the last paycheck stub for 2019 would suffice so long as it has your name, address, partial SSN and company information.
- Bank or utility statements can take up to 2-3 weeks to verify.
- Birth certificates and social security earning statements can take 4+ weeks to verify.