Harder Asks EDD for Answers on Mass Suspension of Accounts

January 12, 2021
Press Release

Modesto, CA – In response to a series of mass account suspensions from the California Employment Development Department (EDD), Representative Josh Harder (CA-10) has written a letter demanding answers. Late last year, it was discovered that EDD had paid out millions of dollars in fraudulent payments. In response to those issues, the Department initiated a wave of mass suspensions which also ended up punishing innocent Californians in need of help during the pandemic. Rep. Harder has heard from dozens of constituents regarding this issue.

“EDD has been a mess for years, but it’s especially bad now because so many people need the department’s help,” said Rep. Harder. “We should absolutely work to eliminate fraud in the system, but we don’t do that by punishing innocent people who just need a hand until the world goes back to normal.”

One of the constituents to Contact Rep. Harder’s office is Abdul Nangyalai, President and CEO of One Team Protection Services Inc. a security services company. Since the pandemic began, Abdul has lost 90 clients and been forced to lay off the majority of his staff. Abdul has seen his account with EDD frozen and many of his remaining employees have faced the same problem. He has made multiple attempts to contact EDD but has had no luck. 

“As the owner and CEO of One Team Protection Services Inc. I have had to lay off the majority of our staff. My business is unable to service our clients,” said Abdul Nangyalai, President and CEO of One team protection services Inc. “I received a letter from the EDD office two weeks ago that my account was frozen due to fraud. I went onto their website to look at my case and There was a note on my account that it was frozen due to fraud with no explanation. I tried again to call with no luck of getting a hold of anyone. I am completely frustrated, and my employees are left with the same frustration. I have yet to hear back from them on my case.”

Representative Harder has been critical of EDD’s repeated issues. Beginning in May, Rep. Harder started applying pressure to the agency to get answers on payment delays and the agency’s decision to abruptly halting new claims in September.

The text of the letter is below and an original copy is available here.

 

 Dear Director Saenz,

I write today to urge the timely resumption of payments to my constituents whose benefits were frozen without warning by the Employment Development Department’s (EDD) mass suspension of accounts on December 31, 2020.

It is abundantly clear that the EDD is failing at preventing fraud among claimants, but I ask that actions are taken responsibly, with care not to beggar valid claimants. This mass freeze of accounts has led to dozens of constituents reaching out to my office, pleading for assistance that they are not receiving from the EDD. Many received little or no notice prior to the suspension of their benefits.[1] Those given notification are not being immediately provided with the means to resume their payments, with reactivation instructions provided a week after benefit suspension.[2] Slow processing and response times are jeopardizing my constituents’ housing, if not their very lives.

In light of the current circumstances, I demand answers to the following questions:

  1. What steps are you taking to expedite the resumption of payments to Californian’s who have unjustly had their accounts suspended?
  2. When can those who have submitted valid identification documents expect to receive a response and resumption of their benefits? What are you doing to help those who need immediate assistance now?
  3. How is the EDD evaluating fraudulent accounts?
  4. What actions is the EDD taking to ensure that a mistake of this scale does not occur again?

It is essential that actions are taken to resume benefits and not further endanger or harm Californians. The rapid resumption of aid immensely impacts both the recovery of our citizens and economy during these difficult months. I look forward to your prompt response and timely action.