State lawmakers rebuked the state’s Employment Development Department on Thursday, charging that it has failed to address public outcry over delays in answering calls and processing unemployment benefit claims from Californians thrown out of work by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Legislators grilled EDD Director Sharon Hilliard at a budget subcommittee hearing on the agency’s handling of an unprecedented 5.1 million claims for unemployment insurance benefits, voicing frustration that many Californians have not been able to get help in a timely way.
“We have never heard the kind of suffering that people are experiencing right now,” Assemblyman David Chiu (D-San Francisco) told Hilliard. “When they call your bureaucracy, the feedback we are getting is atrocious, and I believe we can do better.”
Assemblyman Tom Lackey (R-Palmdale) said his constituents complain that when they call the EDD for help with claims, they often get a recorded message or the state phone system hangs up on them.
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