SACRAMENTO, Calif — As California's Employment Development Department (EDD) begins the process of identity verification on 1.4 million suspended accounts, it appears some people may be without benefits until February. California Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez shared on Twitter a new timeline she received from EDD to restore people's access to their accounts.
The Assemblywoman said that EDD is still in the process of reaching out to everyone who had their accounts suspended. That process alone is expected to continue through January 14. So, if you have not yet received information or a link from EDD to verify your identity, you will need to keep waiting for a few more days.
Assemblywoman Gonzalez added that it may take up to 30 days after you provide your identity verification for your benefits to finally clear.
"I’m tearing up as I write this knowing how hard that is for some people," Assemblywoman Gonzalez tweeted. "But, I asked for transparency and that’s what they’re giving me. We are here for assistance."
EDD suspended the 1.4 million accounts on New Year's Eve, and without warning, as part of its fraud detection efforts. The only communication many people have received from EDD is a letter stating their account had been temporarily suspended because of "suspected fraudulent behavior." That letter also promised more information on January 6, but many people are still waiting to hear from EDD.
EDD has not said specifically why legitimate claims got flagged and suspended.
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How to verify suspended accounts
If you had your account suspended, keep an eye on your UI online account or mail. On Wednesday, EDD started to send people with suspended accounts a specific link to ID.me to provide documentation and validate their identity.
You will want to use that specific ID.me link from EDD as it will help expedite the verification process for people with existing claims.
It is also important that you don't ignore the message from EDD as they said, "If no official response is received, claims will be canceled."
The latest update is it may take until January 14 for EDD to send everyone the follow-up information. It may take 30 days after you provide your verification for EDD to restore access to your account.
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 video chat.
How to use ID.me
ID.me provided these 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.
Frozen EDD Debit Cards
The recent suspension of accounts is separate from Bank of America's own anti-fraud efforts. If you are having trouble accessing the money on your EDD debit card and have NOT received a message from EDD indicating more information is needed, then EDD says this is an issue that only Bank of America can resolve.
You can contact Bank of America by calling the number on the back of your card (1-866-692-9374).
Bank of America shares these tips for people reaching out to them:
- Call Bank of America at the number on the back of your debit card.
- Ask to open a claim and get the claim number.
- Call back and ask them to check the status of your claim number.
- The Bank of America call center is the busiest first thing in the morning. Try a time later in the day for shorter wait times.
If you need more information about unemployment in California, text 'EDD" to 916-321-3310, and our Dollars and Sense team will send you some information.