SACRAMENTO, Calif. - About one million Californians who got unemployment payments from the pandemic-related federal benefit program now have to prove they had a prior work history or possibly pay back the money, according to the Sacramento Bee.
Not only that, but the EDD added, "we will add a 30% penalty if we determine that you intentionally gave false information or withheld information to receive benefits."
According to the federal rules, the new documentation requirement could also apply to those who filed a claim and never even received a payment.
Those affected got payments from the federally funded Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program, which ended up early September.
The Bee reported that nearly three million Californians got benefits from the program, which provided help for people who traditionally would not qualify for regular state-provided unemployment insurance, such as independent contractors and small business owners.
Initially, federal law only required EDD to get income proof from PUA recipients when they wanted to collect more in weekly benefits than the minimum of $167.
But those who did not request such an increase were not required to provide any documentation verifying their income or any other proof of work.