CA lawmakers say state unemployment help isn’t coming fast enough amid coronavirus

Coronavirus
A man in a face mask walks past closed shopfronts in the Fashion District in Downtown Los Angeles, California on April 22, 2020, amid the novel coronavirus pandemic. (FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP via Getty Images)

A man in a face mask walks past closed shopfronts in the Fashion District in Downtown Los Angeles, California on April 22, 2020, amid the novel coronavirus pandemic. (FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP via Getty Images)

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.

Read the full story on LATimes.com.

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