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Will you need to pay back your unemployment benefits? 900,000 Americans might have to

In California, hundreds of thousands of people may need to pay back their unemployment benefits.

The state provided 2.9 million individuals with unemployment benefits after the pandemic began in March of 2020.

Notices were sent by the Employment Development Department in California to 900,000 people that claimed the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance funds.

Related: Will the IRS take my child tax credits if I owe back taxes, student loans, or child support?


People may have received the notice via mail or email.

These 900,000 notices were sent to 30% of people who were collecting the benefits.

What are the notices for?

The notice tells beneficiaries they need to show documentation that they were employed or had planned to be employed before they filed their claim.

Related: Do I need to pay back stimulus checks the IRS sent me by mistake?


This is required on a federal level, and failure to provide proof will result in you needing to payback the benefits you collected.

Those eligible for these specific PUA benefits were people that didn’t qualify for traditional unemployment.

Those allowed to collect PUA benefits included business owners, self-employed workers, independent contractors, those with limited work history, those that used up UI benefits and extended benefits, and anyone serving false statement penalty weeks on their regular UI claim.

The EDD is giving those given notices 21 days to submit documentation.

You may submit the following documentation as proof

  • Federal tax return
  • State tax return
  • W-2
  • Pay stub
  • Payroll history
  • Banking receipts
  • Business records
  • Contracts
  • Invoices
  • Documents that proof 2019 income

Related: How do I get my child tax credit payments in 2022?


You may submit these forms through the EDD website or by mail:

Employment Development Department
PUA 2019 Income Verification
PO Box 989726
West Sacramento, CA 95798-9726

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