On February 17th 2023 the Center for Workers’ Rights announced our successful settlement with the EDD to protect thousands of workers from having to pay back benefits they received during the height of the pandemic.
The negotiation process, lasting nearly two years, was the result of a lawsuit brought against the Employment Development Department (EDD) in the July 2021. The first agreement in Center for Workers’ Rights v EDD resulted in the creation of Conditional Payments, securing Unemployment Insurance benefits for more than 590,000 claimants whose payments had been frozen while the EDD investigated, what they suspected, “fraudulent claims”. More than $711 million were accessed by workers who had their claims previously frozen as “pending”.
Now, 19 months later, CWR entered into another agreement with EDD. EDD must now cancel all untimely Notices of Overpayment issued to claimants after the statutory deadline for seeking repayment. Due to the high volume of claims during the pandemic, EDD in many cases delayed determinations regarding benefits eligibility even as it paid the claimed benefits. While this expedited process provided desperately needed funds to unemployed workers during the Covid-19 economic shutdown, EDD never informed those claimants that it reserved the right to later review their basis for eligibility and to require them to repay the often substantial UI payments they already received.
In addition, this settlement agreement provides that claimants whose benefits years ended upon expiration of the federal programs on September 4, 2021 who have yet to receive a Notice of Overpayment will not be required to repay benefits already received unless EDD finds that a claimant engaged in fraud, misrepresentation, or willful nondisclosure.
This victory comes at a time when many workers are still financially recovering from the pandemic, and will relieve thousands of workers from the added stress of having to pay extra benefits they received at no fault of their own. If you have received a notice of overpayment and suspect you are eligible for this relief or have other questions in regards to your rights to Unemployment Insurance and other workplace protections, please call us at 916-905-5857, or email firstname.lastname@example.org to make an appointment.
Read more about the settlement here https://www.sfchronicle.com/california/article/edd-won-t-require-refunds-unemployment-17789516.php
A copy of the settlement agreement is available here.