A lot of people are struggling with finances, but having your cards frozen with no warning sounds like a nightmare. That's what one local man with terminal cancer said happened to him over the Christmas weekend.
"I was given no notice and tried to access it to get my disability funds and it says it's frozen," Mitch Moore told NBC 7. "I'm a stage 4 cancer patient that was given less than six months to live. I'm trying to get into a new apartment and trying to live out my final months in hopefully some peace and harmony in Carlsbad."
Moore has been undergoing cancer treatments for the last two years and was approved for permanent disability by California's Employment Development Department in October. He was planning to use the money to rent an apartment for his final months, but can't since the account has been frozen.
"There was no communication to me or anything," said Moore. "I just found out it was frozen."
Moore reached out to Bank of America, which is contracted by EDD, to manage the accounts and cards. He said they told him they couldn't do much to help.
"They said EDD is handling it and there's nothing they can do on their end," said Moore. "It doesn't give them any information when they freeze these cards. It just freezes it."
Moore then tried to contact EDD but, like many people, was unable to get ahold of anyone.
"You try to call them, they're unavailable," Moore said. "You go on the website, which is where they want you to go, and no luck there."
Right now, Moore is staying in the living room of his old college roommate from Michigan. He says that isn't how he wants to spend his last few months.
"I've got a chaplain and friends and family that might come to say goodbye and I don't want to keep doing it in the center of my friend's living room," said Moore. "I need to get into an apartment where I can have my own bathroom and bedroom."
NBC 7 Responds reached out to both Bank of America and EDD. Within two days, Moore's card was re-activated and his benefits available to him. In a statement, EDD explained why the card had been frozen:
We’ve been able to confirm that fraud concerns impacted Mr. Moore’s account. But since the EDD has confirmed Mr. Moore’s identity, we’ve been able to coordinate with BofA in clearing the interruption in his benefits and his card should be active. We wish him all the best and no further interruptions moving forward.
Bank of America also sent us a statement saying in part:
Whenever someone believes there is a fraudulent transaction on their card or can’t access it for any reason, we encourage them to contact us so we can resolve the matter as quickly as possible. We have added thousands of additional agents to answer phone calls and investigate claims for areas of the program we are responsible for and, as a result, our average wait time for callers has dropped dramatically.
Moore said the frozen account was adding a lot of stress to his life at a time when he was focused on saying goodbye.
"It's all about mitigating pain, mitigating stress, and unfortunately, this triggers a lot of those things," he said. "I want to squeeze every last ounce of juice out of this orange for fun, for love, connecting with old friends. Just every minute to push that quality of life."
A GoFundMe account has been set up to help pay for the medical expenses for Moore's treatment. You can find more information on it here.