California suspends 1.4 million virus unemployment claims

Posted at 7:25 AM, Jan 07, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-07 10:25:16-05

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — California has frozen 1.4 million unemployment claims as it battles fraud in its coronavirus unemployment relief program.

According to the San Francisco Chronicle, the state Employment Development Department said Wednesday it had examined existing claims from people who said they lost their jobs during the COVID-19 pandemic and found about 3.5 million claims were “potentially fraudulent.”

Nearly 2 million claims already have been disqualified and payment was suspended for about 1.4 million pending verification.

The state has acknowledged that the department was bilked out of hundreds of millions of dollars in COVID-19 unemployment funds that went to fraudsters.