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AB-397 Unemployment insurance: benefits: disqualification: notice. (2021-2022)

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Date Published: 10/06/2021 09:00 PM
AB397:v95#DOCUMENT

Assembly Bill No. 397
CHAPTER 516

An act to amend Sections 1260 and 1261 of the Unemployment Insurance Code, relating to unemployment insurance.

[ Approved by Governor  October 05, 2021. Filed with Secretary of State  October 05, 2021. ]

LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


AB 397, Mayes. Unemployment insurance: benefits: disqualification: notice.
Existing law disqualifies an individual for unemployment compensation benefits if that individual willfully, for the purpose of obtaining unemployment compensation benefits, either made a false statement or representation, including, but not limited to, using a false name, false social security number, or other false identification, with actual knowledge of the falsity of it, or withheld a material fact in order to obtain unemployment compensation benefits. An individual disqualified from unemployment compensation benefits for making a false statement or representation or withholding material facts is ineligible to receive unemployment compensation benefits for certain periods of time, as provided.
This bill, among other things, would require the Employment Development Department, prior to disqualifying an individual and subjecting that person to a period of ineligibility, to provide notice to the individual of the proposed determination. The bill would authorize the notice to be sent in combination with other notices from the department and would require the notice to provide specified information with regard to the eligibility provision related to the false statement or misrepresentation on which the department is determining whether to disqualify the individual and the individual’s right to respond. The bill would authorize the department, after certain conditions are fulfilled, to issue a final notice of determination to the individual that includes specified information, including the number of weeks for which the individual is ineligible for benefits and the individual’s right of appeal. The bill would require the department to implement these provisions upon completing any necessary technical changes to fulfill these requirements or by September 1, 2022, whichever is earlier.
Existing law authorizes the Director of Employment Development to extend the period of ineligibility for not more than 8 weeks when there have been successive disqualifications from unemployment compensation benefits, as provided.
This bill would require the department to provide the above-described notices for each successive disqualification for making a false statement or representation or withholding material facts before the director can extend the ineligibility period.
Vote: MAJORITY   Appropriation: NO   Fiscal Committee: YES   Local Program: NO  

The people of the State of California do enact as follows:


SECTION 1.

 Section 1260 of the Unemployment Insurance Code is amended to read:

1260.
 (a) An individual disqualified under Section 1256, under a determination transmitted to the individual by the department, is ineligible to receive unemployment compensation benefits for the week in which the act that causes the disqualification occurs and continuing until they have, subsequent to the act that causes disqualification and their registration for work, performed service in bona fide employment for which remuneration is received equal to or in excess of five times their weekly benefit amount.
(b) An individual disqualified under subdivision (b) of Section 1257, under a determination transmitted to the individual by the department, is ineligible to receive unemployment compensation benefits for not less than 2 and no more than 10 consecutive weeks beginning with:
(1) The week in which the cause of the disqualification occurs, if the individual registers for work in that week.
(2) The week subsequent to the occurrence of the cause of the individual’s disqualification in which they first register for work, if they do not register for work in the week in which the cause of their disqualification occurs.
(c) An individual disqualified under subdivision (a) of Section 1257, under a determination transmitted to the individual by the department, and who was not paid any benefit amount as a result of their false statement or representation, is ineligible to receive unemployment compensation benefits for two weeks commencing with the week in which the determination is mailed to or personally served upon them, or any subsequent week, for which they are first otherwise in all respects eligible for unemployment compensation benefits and for not more than 13 subsequent weeks for which they are otherwise in all respects eligible for unemployment compensation benefits. No disqualification under this subdivision shall be applied to any week if all or any portion of the week is beyond the three-year period next succeeding the date of the mailing or personal service of the determination. This subdivision shall not apply to an individual convicted under Section 2101.
(d) An individual disqualified under subdivision (a) of Section 1257, under a determination transmitted to the individual by the department, and who was paid any benefit amount as a result of their false statement or representation, is ineligible to receive unemployment compensation benefits for five weeks commencing with the week in which the determination is mailed to or personally served upon them, or any subsequent week, for which they are first otherwise in all respects eligible for unemployment compensation benefits and for not more than 10 subsequent weeks for which they are otherwise in all respects eligible for unemployment compensation benefits. No disqualification under this subdivision shall be applied to any week if all or any portion of the week is beyond the three-year period next succeeding the date of the mailing or personal service of the determination. This subdivision shall not apply to an individual convicted under Section 2101.
(e) Notwithstanding subdivision (c) or (d), an individual who is subject to a disqualification that is imposed under subdivision (b) of Section 1257 may, if they are otherwise in all respects eligible for unemployment compensation benefits, concurrently serve a disqualification imposed under subdivision (a) of Section 1257.
(f) Prior to disqualifying an individual pursuant to subdivision (a) of Section 1257 and subjecting that individual to the period of ineligibility described in subdivision (c) or (d), the department shall do all of the following:
(1) Provide notice to the individual of the proposed determination. This notice may be combined with other notices from the department, which may include, but are not limited to, notifications of potential overpayments and of eligibility interviews.
(A) The notice shall state the eligibility provision related to the false statement or misrepresentation on which the department is determining whether to disqualify the individual pursuant to subdivision (a) of Section 1257.
(B) The notice shall state the individual’s right to respond to the notice pursuant to paragraph (2).
(2) Provide the individual with a period of not less than 10 days, or 3 days for individuals who opt into electronic communications, to respond by telephone or in writing to the proposed determination of ineligibility pursuant to subdivision (a) of Section 1257 by explaining any alleged false or withheld facts, statements, or representations.
(3) After an individual has responded to the allegations or after 10 or 3 days, as applicable, if the individual fails to respond, the department may issue a final notice of determination to an individual. That notice shall contain all of the following:
(A) The number of weeks for which the individual is ineligible for benefits pursuant to subdivision (c) or (d).
(B) The eligibility provision related to the false statement or misrepresentation that serves as the basis for the department’s disqualification of the individual pursuant to subdivision (a) of Section 1257.
(C) The individual’s right to appeal the determination as described in paragraph (4).
(4) The individual may appeal the determination to an administrative law judge within 30 days from mailing or personal service of the notice of determination. The 30-day period may be extended by the administrative law judge for good cause, including, but not be limited to, mistake, inadvertence, surprise, or excusable neglect. The director shall be an interested party to any appeal.
(5) The department shall implement this subdivision upon completing any necessary technical changes to fulfill the requirements of this subdivision or by September 1, 2022, whichever is earlier.

SEC. 2.

 Section 1261 of the Unemployment Insurance Code is amended to read:

1261.
 When successive disqualifications under Section 1257 occur, the director may extend the period of ineligibility provided for in Section 1260 for an additional period not to exceed eight additional weeks. With regard to successive disqualifications pursuant to subdivision (a) of Section 1257, the department is required to have complied with subdivision (f) of Section 1260 for each successive disqualification.