$125 million in inflation relief untouched by Californians

Payments ranging from a couple hundred dollars to over one thousand dollars were sent out to Californians over the past two years, but a sizeable amount has not been claimed.

More than 600,000 Californians who are entitled to receive direct payments to help ease the burden of inflation haven’t touched their relief money.

That’s about 10 percent of the people who received pre-loaded debit cards in the mail. 


The backstory: From October 2022 to September 2023 the Franchise Tax Board (FTB) issued the Middle Class Tax Refund by direct deposit and debit cards. 

  • Inflation relief for California residents ranged from $200 to $1,050, with the wealthiest Californians receiving nothing. 

By the numbers: The FTB deposited 7.2 million payments straight into bank accounts, totalling around $4 billion. 

  • However, around 9.6 million people received a debit card by mail, and 90 percent of those have been activated. 
  • That leaves around 624,000 debit cards that have not been used, totaling $125 million in inflation relief benefits. 

What we’re watching: Any unused benefits will expire when the program ends on April 30, 2026. 

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