SACRAMENTO, Calif. (US MEDIA GROUP) – In an effort to mitigate the impact of the increasing cost of living in California, the state has issued 9.6 million debit cards preloaded with hundreds of dollars as part of the Middle Class Tax Refund program. However, a staggering 87% of these cards have yet to be activated, leaving approximately 1.2 million eligible residents without access to the assistance. This means that an estimated total of $600 million in benefits remains unspent.

The Franchise Tax Board responsible for administering the program is now taking steps to remind individuals to activate their cards. These debit cards can be used to make purchases in stores or online, or even transferred into a bank account. Despite these options, only 45% of activated cards have a zero balance, suggesting that even those who have activated their cards have yet to utilize the full amount.

The rising cost of living in California has been a major concern for middle-class families, prompting the implementation of this program. The debit cards, which came preloaded with hundreds of dollars, were meant to provide relief to those struggling with the high cost of housing, healthcare, and other basic necessities.

However, the low rate of activation and spending raises questions about the effectiveness of the program in addressing the issue. State officials have urged eligible individuals to take advantage of the assistance provided through the debit cards.

According to the FTB, individuals who have qualified for the program but have not received their cards should contact the agency immediately. The cards are valid for three years from the date of issuance and can provide much-needed relief to those facing financial strain.

As California continues to grapple with the soaring cost of living, the fate of these unused benefits remains uncertain. The state government is hopeful that with the reminder letters, more individuals will activate their cards and utilize the assistance provided. However, until then, millions of dollars remain unspent, leaving the fate of the Middle Class Tax Refund program in question.