Many residents continue to wait for the biggest of the state stimulus checks, the California Middle-Class Tax Refund. The refund sent by the California Franchise Tax Board was announced by Governor Gavin Newsom to help them cope with rising prices that have made a mess of the financial planning of most individuals and households.
This inflation relief payment began as a mechanism to help people face up to high gas prices in California, the highest in the state. What started as an initiative to send out gas relief funds to affected residents soon snowballed into the third round of stimulus checks after the Golden State I and II.
Governor Gavin Newsom had initially mooted a gas card worth $400 to each vehicle registered in California. Families would have been eligible for a maximum of two cards. Families and individuals who do not own cars would have been eligible for a transit card of the same amount as the gas cards.
But Democratic Party legislators prevailed upon Gov. Newsom to go for another round of inflation relief payments. The payments were sanctioned in June 2022, but the payments started in the last quarter of 2022 on October 7.
The first round of payments was paid through direct bank transfers to beneficiaries. Residents who received any one round of the earlier round of Golden Stimulus payments were the first to receive the tax rebates in the latest round. This was followed by taxpayers who had filed their 2020 income tax returns online.
Tax files who took the paper filing route will be the last to receive their Middle-Class Tax Rebate and will get it through debit cards sent through the US Postal Service.
Stimulus Checks Through Debit Cards Stuck Due To Postal Delays: Payments Also Missing For Many
Though more than two months have passed since the commencement of the Middle-Class Tax Rebate, many Californians are yet to receive their payments. The refund funds owed to them due to the surplus state budget will go out to 10 to 13 million of the beneficiaries through the debit card route. The Franchise Tax Board has signed a contract with New York’s Money Network, a bank with the expertise to handle such a huge volume of payment.
By November 11, over 2.5 million debit cards had been issued. But it will take at least two weeks for the cards to reach the post box of beneficiaries. There have also been concerns about the proper use of the debit cards that go even before the state decided to send refunds to residents.
Many residents have also mistaken the debit cards for scams or junk mail and have thrown them out. Once filers received their mistake it was too late to retrieve them. Filers were confused when they received the mail marked the California Middle-Class Tax Refund with a Nebraska address that contained a debit card issued from a New York bank.
Many residents thought it was another of the numerous scams to which they are subjected and threw them out. But some were luckier and realized that the debit card was pre-loaded with the tax rebate stimulus check amount and proceeded to cash in.
Filers say that they have also been using it for direct purchases. For those who either cut it up or threw it into the dump, they will have to contact Money Network, the New York bank handling the issue, at 1-800-240-0223. They have to go through the pre-recorded call process and have to move to the one marked “Card Replacement.”
They have then to continue to the option that is for those who have received the card but no longer possess it and enter 6 digits of their Social Security number plus their zip code. If they have successfully entered the details, they will be informed that their request has been accepted.
After going through the whole process they will be informed that a fresh debit card with the preloaded tax rebate stimulus check amount will be mailed to their home address once again.
People calling up the Money Network number should not choose the customer service network as that is a dead end, as it will prompt you to enter your debit card number, which you do not have. Be sure to choose the option to replace the card. One drawback is that it will take weeks and even months before a fresh card is delivered to you.
Confusion Also For California Residents Over The Cards And Issuing Bank
The preloaded debit cards have also confused many for other reasons. Some have even complained that the cards are full of restrictions and also charge them fees for services.
The Middle-Class Tax Refund has led to a lot of questions such as if there are fees to be paid for using debit cards. People have also questioned the rationale behind getting a card issued by a bank in New York and have doubted its legitimacy.
The Nebraska address also has confused many beneficiaries of the debit card. They say that though they were not expecting any money from a New York address, they concluded that it had to be a scam. The cards were loaded with tax rebates that range from $200 to $1,050.
The card also came with a long list of rules that run into 4 pages and a lengthy agreement for cardholders. Taxpayers say that if the government is giving someone a rebate, they could not see the rationale behind a lengthy set of rules.
Filers were also put off by certain charges attached to the pre-loaded debit cards that were deducted from the tax rebate amount. They concluded that it was a scam by the New York Community Bank, the issuing entity of the cards, to steal personal information from the filers. Scammers trying to steal personal information are a big fraud in America.
Authorities have informed filers that the correct card has a return address in Omaha, Nebraska and the real cards can be activated only by calling the number mentioned earlier.
The fees are for some services such as a $1.25 charge each time you use the card to withdraw money from the Bank at a non-network ATM or for over-the-counter cash at a bank. But there are no charges if the card is used at Money Network ATMs that are generally loaded at groceries and drug stores.