New ID Verification tool helping Californians seeking unemployment benefits

EDD ends two-week reset period with gains on backlog

SACRAMENTO – One day after opening their doors to new claims for unemployment benefits again, the Employment Development Department (EDD) on Tuesday announced the successful installation of a new ID.me identity verification tool that is helping speed the processing of new claims.

“Already, the new tool has helped serve more than 101,000 Californians seeking unemployment benefits for the first time,” said EDD Director Sharon Hilliard. “We continue to refine this new process and smooth the way for applicants, but we are confident this is a giant step forward in helping Californians verify their identity in a simpler, faster way that is helping us block imposter fraud.”

The EDD initiated a soft launch of the new ID.me tool last Thursday, sending emails and texts to a total of 136,000 people who signed up for an EDD notification inviting them back to UI Online to submit their applications for new unemployment claims. Between the soft launch period and Tuesday afternoon, ID.me data shows that 101,159 people used the tool in an effort to verify their identity.

More than 64 percent, or 64,950 people, were able to verify their identity online, including 58,915 who needed no assistance. Another 6,035 people did so with the help of a “trusted referee” in a video chat. By the same time Tuesday, 36,209 people did not verify their identity or talk to a trusted referee for reasons that can include abandoning the screen at a point where further action is required, timing out, or not being able to establish their identity. They can return for up to a week to finish the process.

While at least some of these attempts could be fraudulent, it is also possible that some claimants seeking help from ID.me’s call center did not get assistance given longer-than-average hold times Monday that reached at one point over an hour, or were otherwise unable to complete the process. Until this first rush through the new reopened system settles out, the EDD recommends the best time to verify identity through ID.me for those needing phone assistance is in the morning hours before 10:00 a.m.

“It’s too soon to draw firm conclusions about why those who did not verify their identity were unable to make it through the process, but we will be looking at this data carefully in the weeks ahead to make sure there are no barriers,” Hilliard said. “On balance, we think this tool is already more effective and provides better access to a wide range of Californians than our previous method of verifying identity.”

Hilliard also said the department has made solid progress following a two-week reset period that ended Sunday. That progress includes:

  • Staff were strategically deployed to process both initial claims and pending continued claim payments – resolving about 250,000 claims in the backlog when the EDD initiated the two-week reset period (backlog is defined as the number of claimant’s waiting more than 21 days for a resolution.) The new ID.me identity verification tool is expected to help greatly minimize the manual workload that can cause a backlog.
  • The most experienced staff focused on clearing the oldest and most complex claims, while newer staff worked through large volumes of mail, email, and outbound calls to claimants.
  • Outbound calls helped EDD connect with a few thousand claimants, helping resolve an issue causing delays in payments. Most commonly that included walking them through the required process of answering questions on a bi-weekly certification that confirms their eligibility for benefit payments. Payments cannot be issued without it.

The Department worked in partnership with the California Department of Technology and the Office of Digital Innovation to put ID.me in place, a commercial identity verification tool that was integrated into UI-Online, the system Californians use to apply for unemployment benefits, including federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA).

ID.me helps applicants prove they are who they say they are in a user-friendly automated process that uses multiple data sources to authenticate identity documents or a virtual in-person session requiring specific knowledge of an individual’s financial history. The old process of verifying identity was a major driver of claims requiring manual processing, and the EDD Strike Team estimated that 40 percent of claims received were being flagged for manual processing.

EDD has implemented and continues to develop further technology enhancements to increase the number of applications that can be handled without staff intervention, with a goal of processing more than 90 percent of claims automatically.

An assessment of the ongoing processing post-implementation of ID.me will be conducted in the next two weeks by EDD in partnership with the Strike Team and the percentage of claims still requiring manual processing will be reported at that time.

 

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Monica Vargas

Monica is an Information Officer for the California Governor's Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES). She has been involved in the Aliso Canyon Gas Leak, Valley Fire, Butte Fire, historic drought, Oroville Dam Emergency Spillway Incident, 2017 winter storms, North Bay Fires, Camp Fire, Ridgecrest Earthquake, 2020 Puerto Rico earthquake EMAC PIO, 2020 fire siege and the COVID-19 pandemic. She previously served Cal OES as an analyst in the executive, international affairs and technology offices.

18 thoughts on “New ID Verification tool helping Californians seeking unemployment benefits

  • October 8, 2020 at 12:41 pm
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    I been applying sence may 2020 I turned in all I had to do now that can’t do there part to verafy mi Identity ok if thay took a week it’s over a month I get the run around every time I’ll be homless soon doesn’t matter for edd that’s giving me the cold shoulder if I could do a lawer to sue them id do it cause neglagence on there behave why should we pay for somthin tha screwed up on if thay gave prisoners and scammers cheeks why can’t we get what’s belong to us

    Reply
    • October 26, 2020 at 4:02 am
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      I have sent my verification2xmail and fax talk to sup. and rep. I am about to loos my storage and be on the street I lost two sister and.was not able to go to funeral I sent the first verf.19 of sep.2020 sec.i fax first week in oct.2020 was told it was recive.dont understand the problems. Please let me know something ⁸you have told me how much got award letter and account number. Don’t know if I suppose to certified every 2 weeks or what I ask and was told had to wait now am I going to lose all the back payment please tell me some I am 65yr can’t work because of cov19 thisis the reason people that cheated the system got there money and a.person like me will lose everything.

      Reply
  • October 15, 2020 at 10:37 am
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    Is this suppose to be impressive? Wow.. millions of dollars and this is all we have to show for it, a broken 90s system.

    Reply
  • October 18, 2020 at 2:23 am
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    I’ve been waiting for over 4weeks to receive my Benifits. Every sense April of 2020 i have been receiving my payments without any problems. Unfortunately 4 weeks ago I was informed that i wasn’t going to receive my Benifits due to the knew ID verification, i spoke with an unemployment employee who told me she would send a link to my inbox for me to upload my ID, Social Security card to them. I did as she asked. After doing that i phoned unemployment one more time to let them know it had been done. The rep told me it could be 10 days or up to 8weeks before I could get a payment. EDD already still owes me 6-8 weeks of the 300 Dollars paymeny that i was suppose to receive along with my regular weekly payment. I still haven’t received a payment and I’m on my third week of continued weekly Benifits, i need some kind of help or i will be homeless in the streets. I’m 51 years old with sickle cell disease with my illness i cant afford to be in the streets with Covid 19 still killing us off daily i live Oakland Ca, and we are still one of the highest cities in the state that dont have this disease under control. Please Help

    Reply
  • October 31, 2020 at 11:08 am
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    Not everyone has a smart phone to do video conferencing when your identity can’t be proved with your phone number you use. My son has been trying to sign up since yesterday morning and it won’t allow him to proceed. The message he keeps getting that never changes says wait time of 30 minutes, well it’s been a full day and he has been layed off for three weeks already.

    Reply
  • December 4, 2020 at 9:04 am
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    The only ones getting benefits quick are the people using someone else’s name. We have been trying to clear up my husbands claim after someone filed under his name. They didn’t ask the scammers for shot but we have to prove our selves. It’s a joke and all these reps they have working hav no clue what they are doing. We applied 9/24/2020 and as of today we r still trying to get a hold of the integrity department. Sent my id verification 3 times. They have it and they see it but the integrity department hasn’t got to it. Fucken joke. And they are only open 8-12.

    Reply
  • December 14, 2020 at 9:41 am
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    I’ve been trying to verify my identity since May 2020 and went threw same thing filing over 4 appeals still nothing people who doesn’t even supposed to be receiving benefits are and it sucks for ones struggling to pay the rent ive been borrowing from family members and this month nobody is willing to help. My grandma just passed away Friday its too much and nobody is doing their jobs!

    Reply
    • December 29, 2020 at 2:25 am
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      I tried to do ID.me requirement and i can go and loaded my dr. License, and loaded successful with check mark show up ,after that i coud’t go to the next page, or to claim my application, its say may close and back to your browser, and i am still do not know what to do, it’s more painful than the epidemic.
      There is no one can help the situation ether the edd or any other one.

      Reply
      • January 4, 2021 at 6:28 am
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        Have you figured out how to get past that part yet? I’m having the same problem,it’s not even saving the claim as a draft to go back to after successfuly verified my identity

        Reply
      • January 20, 2021 at 2:29 am
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        What I had to do was open id.me with Google and then have it open on chrome that way when you get your info uploaded and it tells you to return to browser you just open back id.me on Google also from my experience the process went a lot smoother when I uploaded my Id instead of taking a picture of my id if that makes sense

        Reply
  • December 26, 2020 at 5:14 am
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    Since the ID Me thing is junk and doesn’t work my boyfriend has to pay 4000 bucks to a consultant to help him get his own money owed from Edd. These consultants told us they purposely set these things to fail to psychologically make us want to quit it’s a terrible thing but California Edd has always been a terrible ordeal system to use.

    Reply
  • January 4, 2021 at 8:52 am
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    Edd ended my claim despite me sending in me verifying my identification multiple times. Ive submitted online twice, and have sent in 4 appeals since September 2020.

    The last appeal I sent in a photo of myself holding my drivers license, as well as a copy of my drivers license, and a copy of 2 pieces of mail to verify my ID and Address. 1 piece of mail was from the IRS, the other was from California Child Services because I am now delinquent in paying Child Support, given I was laid off last year due to covid, and I was able to pay child support with the money I was receiving from EDD.

    I was instructed to file for unemployment by the company I previously worked for, and I only received benefits for 4 months before they suspended my claim in September, for ID verification. I’ve been appealing Since September, and now I cant even sign into my online profile, nor get thru to anyone on the phone.

    I woke up today at 7, called edd @ 8:00 and they said their lines were already too full For my call to be answered. I called from 8am til 8:30am back to back. It’s a shit show, and EDD should be ashamed of how incompetent and irresponsible this whole process is.

    People are losing their homes, their livelihood, and unable to feed their children. This is only going to get worse as long as EDD continues to operate like this. The fraud isnt the honest hard worker’s fault. We worked hard for our money, and now EDD is stealing from us, and leaving us out to dry.

    I read one forum that had mutiple post about people having to sleep in shelters, steal food from dollar stores, their families turning their backs on them etc etc…..

    EDD is responsible for all this shit.

    EDD could easily give the people their money once they verify their identities.

    OR

    Have it to where people can meet with a rep face to face online, id you dont trust the mailing system.

    Edd could easily have their reps conduct id verifications online via video chat. 100 reps could reach 1000 people per day/ minimum.

    And being that its face to face, the verifaction process wouldnt take that long, because, You Can See Us!!

    If I can figure something out, EDD can.

    This whole thing looks like an inside job to screw the people over and shake people to the bottom.

    And unfortunately its working.

    Reply
    • January 12, 2021 at 5:41 pm
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      Yes, and why can’t u make appt at edd or drop off the id papers at an edd office. They are an essential worker organization, and no one answers phone ever. Good for you getting a lawyer. I guess that’s the only avenue for people to get their benefits

      Reply
  • January 4, 2021 at 8:55 am
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    Edd ended my claim despite me verifying my identification multiple times. Ive submitted online twice, and have sent in 4 appeals since September 2020.

    The last appeal I sent in a photo of myself holding my drivers license, as well as a copy of my drivers license, and a copy of 2 pieces of mail to verify my ID and Address. 1 piece of mail was from the IRS, the other was from California Child Services because I am now delinquent in paying Child Support, given I was laid off last year due to covid, and I was able to pay child support with the money I was receiving from EDD.

    I was instructed to file for unemployment by the company I previously worked for, and I only received benefits for 4 months before they suspended my claim in September, for ID verification. I’ve been appealing Since September, and now I cant even sign into my online profile, nor get thru to anyone on the phone.

    I woke up today at 7, called edd @ 8:00 and they said their lines were already too full For my call to be answered. I called from 8am til 8:30am back to back. It’s a shit show, and EDD should be ashamed of how incompetent and irresponsible this whole process is.

    People are losing their homes, their livelihood, and unable to feed their children. This is only going to get worse as long as EDD continues to operate like this. The fraud isnt the honest hard worker’s fault. We worked hard for our money, and now EDD is stealing from us, and leaving us out to dry.

    I read one forum that had mutiple post about people having to sleep in shelters, steal food from dollar stores, their families turning their backs on them etc etc…..

    EDD is responsible for all this shit.

    EDD could easily give the people their money once they verify their identities.

    OR

    Have it to where people can meet with a rep face to face online, if you dont trust the mailing system.

    Edd could easily have their reps conduct ID verifications online via video chat. 100 reps could reach 1000 people per day/ minimum.

    And being that its face to face, the verifaction process wouldnt take that long, because, You Can See Us!!

    If I can figure something out, EDD can.

    This whole thing looks like an inside job to screw the people over and shake people to the bottom.

    And unfortunately its working.

    Reply
  • January 7, 2021 at 1:02 pm
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    I have been regularly receiving my unemployment benefits, with not problems, until EDD suspended my account due to fraud. I waited until yesterday for their instructions to verify my identity, but didn’t receive anything. I called their office, several times, and finally got through. The worker asked me to verify my name and whatnot to see if it was me, then said that they forgot to send a link out to me. He stated that if I didn’t receive the link by the end of the day, then I would definitely get it this morning in my inbox. Guess what! I haven’t received anything! My bank account is in the minus, I have no money to buy food or pay my bills, and I have a kid. It’s going on a month now. How much longer do we have to suffer!

    Reply
  • January 10, 2021 at 1:29 am
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    Bank of America has an interest in suspending legitimate accounts. It can’t control the gangsters that compromise the mag strips on its ATMs and doesn’t want to pay claims for money stolen from Californian’s EDD cards, so it is in charge of the ID.me program for EDD.
    If you file a claim for stolen funds with B of A, it is guaranteed that they will cut off your EDD funds by saying they can’t id you! That is called extorting people out of work to shut up. Eventually we may find out B of A employees in claims and the ID dept were the gangsters stealing the money from EDD cardholders????

    Reply
  • January 10, 2021 at 3:22 am
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    I dont have a current id and cant afford one. I was getting money from edd since April and now i cant get a red cent,they suspended my account,said it may be tied to fradulent activity. i am a self employed mechanic and work out of my home. i gave them all the correct personal info but i am screwed now. I tell you what fraud is. IT IS THAT POS GOV. NEWSOMES BUSINESSES TIED TO HIM GETTING OVER 1 MILLION DOLLARS IN THOSE NO NEED TO PAY BACK LOANS. MAY GOD HAVE MERCY ON THERE SOULS. IF THEY HAVE NOT SOLD THEM TO THE DEVIL

    Reply
  • January 16, 2021 at 10:56 am
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    Please help me. I cannot believe that as a taxpayer you have chosen to treat people in need like this. Having more EDD operators on the ground remotely would have solved this problem and put people back to work. The DMV has community kiosks, this would have also worked. You are discriminating against poor and the working poor and people who don’t not have access to tech help. There is absolutely no live operators accessible for this service, nor a way to get to the video referee. I am so upset and so sad that so many people in need now find themselves at the mercy of your decision to use this service. My EDD account will now be frozen and I hold this service responsible. My family counts on this money and I honestly don’t know what I am going to do.

    Reply

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