California’s unemployment agency faced a barrage of bipartisan criticism from lawmakers this week over continuing delays in approving jobless claims, with calls for an audit and for Gov. Gavin Newsom to step in with new, corrective action.
The renewed complaints come as the state Employment Development Department reported Thursday that it has processed 6.7 million claims for unemployment benefits since March 14, just before Newsom declared a statewide coronavirus emergency, and has paid $33.5 billion in benefits.
Lawmakers including state Sen. Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco) say their offices have been flooded with calls from constituents who filed claims weeks or months ago who have not gotten approval or received any money. Callers also continue to have trouble getting an EDD representative on the phone to help them with stalled claims, legislators say. The issues have existed for months despite promises by the state to resolve them.
“It’s bad,” Wiener said in an interview. “We are now 3½ months in and it’s gotten worse. It’s just an unacceptable situation.”
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