Governor’s Budget Update Includes $11 Million To Implement Direct Deposit Option for Unemployment Benefits

Positive step forward to ensuring Lorena Gonzalez’s AB 74 gets passed and signed

For immediate release:

SACRAMENTO – (Friday, May 14, 2021) – California State Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez (D-San Diego) applauded Governor Gavin Newsom as he announced $11 million to require the Employment Development Department (EDD) to offer a direct deposit option for Unemployment Insurance, State Disability Insurance, and Paid Family Leave benefits in his May update to the proposed 2021-2022 state budget.
 
“I’m thrilled to see funding in the state budget in response to our efforts to require EDD to provide a direct deposit option as a secure way to get benefits into the hands of Californians as quickly as possible,” Assemblywoman Gonzalez said. “This policy is long overdue and a commonsense solution to so many of the problems we’ve heard families face that have delayed access to their unemployment benefits for months at a time."
 

Last year, Gonzalez introduced Assembly Bill 74, coauthored by 44 state lawmakers, to allow individuals receiving unemployment insurance, paid family leave, or disability insurance benefits the choice to have the funds deposited directly into their bank accounts, instead of being mailed a paper check or being issued a Bank of America debit card. Direct deposit to an existing bank account would provide Californians their benefits quickly and securely, with less opportunity for scammers to access the money.
 
California is one of only two states that does not allow the option for direct deposit of unemployment benefits. EDD, which processes and oversees unemployment claims, has no direct access to debit funds on any accounts, and no ability to resolve fraud issues for individual cards. Bank of America issued debit cards also do not use chip technology, which experts say makes them more susceptible to scammers who can “skim” data from the magnetic strips. Only up to $1,000 can be withdrawn from the debit cards per day, in addition to running the risk of being stolen or mailed to the wrong address, and being subject to additional fees.
 
For questions or to schedule an interview with Assemblywoman Gonzalez, contact Mike Blount: Mike.Blount@asm.ca.gov