The California Employment Development Department (EDD) announced that it is changing its private sector partner that is tasked with the delivery of unemployment (UI), disability (DI), and Paid Family Leave (PFL) benefits.
The EDD will now work with Money Network, which will begin with issuing new, enhanced prepaid debit cards with microchips, followed by providing a new direct deposit option later in 2024. The change comes after the state announced multi-billion-dollar fraud committed during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The EDD said in a press release that it is incorporating best practices learned from other states to help ensure a smooth transition for customers. The state has already sent letters to roughly 850,000 Californians with active benefit claims.
The letters inform customers that those who will still be actively certifying for UI, DI, or PFL benefits after January 15, should be on the lookout for the new Money Network prepaid debit cards in the weeks that follow. The EDD added that notifications will be sent through various channels, including email and text messages, over the next few months to inform claimants about important dates and changes.
The state selected Money Network following a competitive procurement process. Through Money Network, EDD customers will have access to secure chip cards and tap-to-pay technology to help protect EDD customers against fraud and skimming attacks. The EDD noted that the Money Network also has the resources and network necessary for the EDD to provide the new direct deposit option and enhanced customer communication.