California lawmakers accused the state’s unemployment department of failing the public, said a KPBS report.
Moreover, the report added that many people are waiting for weeks or months to receive their benefits.
Many of the applicants loss their jobs because of the pandemic.
California Assemblyman, David Chiu, said:
“It’s difficult to say this as someone who generally believes in the government’s ability to help, but EDD has been failing California.
Our constituents are depleting their life savings, going into extreme debt, having trouble paying rent, and putting food on the table.”
Other lawmakers are also dismayed by how the Employment Development Department (EDD) is doing their job.
Over A Million Claimants
The Employment Development Department confirmed that there are more than 1.2 million claims, about a fifth of all applications, haven’t been paid out.
This is either because the applicants haven’t taken the right steps or they are ineligible.
Sharon Hilliard, head of the Employment Development Department (EDD) claimed:
“We remain laser-focused on those claims that require additional action.
Our staffers care deeply about the livelihood of our neighbors and our communities.
Which is why we continue to work round-the-clock in a committed effort to evolve our operations.”
She told lawmakers the agency has hired or redirected thousands of workers and plans to bring on more, said the report.
In addition, the common reasons payments are delayed is because the state needs more information to verify the applicant’s identity or conduct a wage investigation, she said.
Hilliard continued that a call center that can handle questions around specific claims has just 100 people working from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m PST.
Moreover, the agency is working to merge the call centers and train more workers to handle complex calls to eliminate the need for callbacks.
In a public hearing last Thursday, the members of the public called the state services “abominable” and suggested Hilliard be fired.
Chiu accused Hilliard of lying to the public about the unemployment data.
While another lawmaker said she had no faith in Hilliard or the agency.