EDD this month announced that it would be freezing over 35,000 Bank of America debit cards due to suspected fraud. This announcement comes at a time when workers are struggling to keep up with their mounting bills.
CWR will be advocating for the freeze to end as soon as possible and make sure that any claimant who is under investigation is still able to access the funds until the investigation is complete. As we had mentioned in our letter to the Assembly Subcommittee 4 in October of last year, we agreed with the EDD Strike Team’s finding that “[t]here has developed a culture at EDD of allowing fear of fraud to trump all other considerations.”
The freezing of accounts of claimants who already navigated through the difficult process of accessing benefits is unnecessary in EDD’s combating actual fraud. EDD already has a process in place to inform claimants of potential overpayments of benefits and did not need to confiscate benefits already paid to claimants through this new process.
Claimants do not know why their accounts were frozen or how EDD made the determination that the identity verification information provided at the time of application needed to be re-verified. Many of our clients live paycheck to paycheck and depend on these benefits to pay for essentials like food and housing.
Being unable to access benefits for even a day can mean the difference between eating or continuing to have a place to live. Taking away access to these benefits they were depending on, without even a warning or notice, is unconscionable. EDD’s implementation of this new protocol is antithetical to the recommendations of the Strike Team report and should be stopped immediately.
See below article for full details. https://www.nbclosangeles.com/news/edd-coronavirus-fraud-accounts-frozen-help/2481141/