Written by T. Logan Dayne
Roughly 1 million Californians face potential payback of all pandemic unemployment money received unless they gather further documentation. In the wake of the Chinese based virus, the Employment Development Department paid out further benefits and assistance to those who under normal circumstances would not be able to qualify for them.
The money, which came from the federally funded Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program, was given liberally to many welcoming massive fraudulent claims. Unemployment fraud has become more common in the aftermath of the pandemic. An estimate by officials places the amount given out by the EDD to improper claims at roughly $20 billion. This equates to about 11% of the assistance given out since March of 2020. The EDD is now trying to clean up its mess and get some of the taxpayers money back months after the fact. An additional 30% penalty is also being added to any who intentionally gave false information or withheld information in an effort to receive the benefits. This would also apply to those who applied but never received benefits. How that will be enforced is yet to be determined.
The EDD is trying to give everyone ample warning so they can get the documents needed to prevent having to payback all benefits received. Documents that may be needed that were not seen or required initially may be tax returns, business receipts or a W-2 form. For individuals who were contracted or self-employed such items may include business licenses, state or federal employer IDs, and lease agreements. Recipients will be labeled an ineligible and need to pay back their assistance if they fail to respond to notices put out by the EDD.
Photo Cred: Daily Breeze