Dozens of California lawmakers demand answers from Bank of America over frozen debit cards

Local News

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KTXL) — Hundreds of thousands of Californians are awaiting unemployment benefits from the state but haven’t gotten them yet.

“About 350,000 Californians are currently unable to access either their unemployment insurance, their pandemic unemployment insurance or their SDI, their state disability insurance benefits, which are owed to them,” said Assemblyman Phil Ting, D-San Francisco. 

Assemblyman Ting said Bank of America detected some kind of fraud and froze debit cards to the accounts of the recipients. Benefits are placed on Bank of America debit cards.

“For some reason, they have frozen the accounts of all these 350,000 thousand people who it appears aren’t acting fraudulently. And the question is why aren’t they unfreezing these accounts?” Ting questioned.

Fresno resident David Robertson said his son was defrauded out of $15,000. 

“The frustration is there doesn’t seem to be any willingness or ability from the EDD or Bank of America to help people that have been defrauded,” Robertson told FOX40.

His son had filed for unemployment back in July but, somehow, his card went to someone else who had access to all his personal information.

“There’s two kind of factions here, right?” Robertson said. “You have people that have a card for whatever reason has been frozen and that money needs to be released. But then, there’s also the other group of people that never got their card.” 

“The bottom line is, they both don’t have funds,” he continued. 

Ting said there has been no response from Bank of America, which is why roughly 60 legislators have signed a letter urging the bank for a response.

FOX40 also reached out to Bank of America via calls and emails and has yet to hear back.

Assemblyman Ting said with Thanksgiving and other holidays upon us, the money is critical, especially to those who have waited months to receive the debit card only to have it not work.

“So, they’re sitting there, trying to unfreeze these cards so they can get access to the money that they deserve,” the California assemblyman said.

He said according to the Employment Development Department, roughly 8% of the 350,000 cases have been resolved.

“If EDD is informing Bank of America to please unfreeze the cards, why are they not unfreezing the cards?” Ting asked.

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