SACRAMENTO, Calif. — California’s Employment Development Department [EDD] has released new guidelines for people who have their debit card accounts frozen, or money removed from their accounts.
The EDD, working with Bank of America who issues the debit cards, announced earlier this month it had temporarily suspended approximately 693,000 claims as part of its fraud efforts. But tens-of-thousands of those frozen accounts were actual unemployed people who lost access to their money. EDD said it reached out to all of the names associated with the claims to ask for documentation to verify identity.
At the same time EDD froze accounts, other people reported their debit card funds had been reduced.
We’ve heard from several viewers confused about who to contact to get their accounts unfrozen or the money returned to their accounts. Here’s the latest guidance from EDD.
EDD debit card frozen and request from EDD to verify ID
If your EDD debit card account has been frozen, you should check to see if you have received a notice from the EDD to provide identity verification. EDD is reaching out to people via email, text message and mail.
EDD said it is likely your claim was impacted by “fraud indicators,” such as a high volume of claims filed at a single address. You will need to verify your ID with EDD before it will issue any further payments.
To verify your identification, follow the instructions in the message from EDD and login to your UI Online account. From there you can upload your identity documents with the document upload feature, which is available on mobile and desktop.
If you need help uploading your documents, you can use a new feature on the AskEDD page. Once there:
- Select the “Unemployment Insurance” category
- For sub-category pick “Payments”
- Under topic, select “Frozen EDD Debit Card”
From there you will be able to provide contact information so EDD can follow up.
Once your identity is verified, EDD said, “Payments will be re-established for claimants whose identities are verified and accounting will be done to clear them from any connection to a possible fraudulent claim.”
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EDD debit card frozen but you have not received a message from EDD
If your EDD debit card account is frozen but you have not received a request from EDD to verify your identity, EDD said it is likely that Bank of America froze the card.
Reasons for Bank of America to freeze or suspend an account include suspected fraudulent, unauthorized or unlawful activities, or a suspect transaction.
EDD said you should call Bank of America at the number on the back of your card (1-866-692-9374) to resolve the situation.
Funds reduced or deducted from an EDD debit card
If you have funds removed from your EDD debit card account, EDD said that action was made by Bank of America, not them. EDD said it has no direct access to debit card funds on any accounts due to privacy reasons.
Many cardholders were confused by the transactions because the debits appeared in the transaction history as being debited by EDD, even though the changes were made by Bank of America. The bank agreed to change the description of these transactions moving forward.
If you have questions about a debit on your account, you should call Bank of America at the number on the back of your card (1-866-692-9374) to resolve the situation.