Sacramento – Senator Scott Wilk, R-Santa Clarita, advocating for the thousands of constituents still in the queue waiting for their unemployment benefits, is urging Governor Gavin Newsom to rethink a two-week pause on new EDD claims.
“We learned last week that the Employment Development Department does not see the backlog cleared up until 2021, which, based on what we have seen so far from the agency, may be a very optimistic timeline,” said Wilk, who represents the 21st Senate District.
“That means some Californians may be waiting almost a year for what is due them,” Wilk said. “That is unacceptable on its own, but adding a two-week ‘pause’ on new applications will likely make little difference in a 1.5 million case backlog but will definitely slow down newly unemployed people’s ability to get in the system and begin receiving the help they are entitled to,”
Wilk and colleagues from the Senate and the Assembly sent a letter to Newsom asking him to rethink the two-week delay and instead keep the agency fully open while the state works to right the ship.
Click here to read the letter submitted to the Governor urging him to rethink the two-week pause.
“Legislators have been on the front lines since March trying to get some changes at EDD. At this point, the Administration’s goal should be getting folks their unemployment and clearing the backlog. It is a big, multi-pronged problem, but we cannot lose sight of the priority – getting people their unemployment and doing it quickly. The problems at EDD are huge and will definitely require a big effort to be fixed,” Wilk concluded.
Prior to releasing the EDD Strike Team report late on a Saturday, the Governor’s Administration and EDD staff held a conference call with legislative staff on the Strike Team’s recommendations.
Legislative staff were told that there would be more than 70 recommendations, only to find out in a news article there are more than 100 recommendations.
Legislative staff also found out, through a news article that it would take the EDD four months to clear the backlog and there are still 1.5 million unresolved claims.
In April, Wilk and other legislators warned Governor Newsom about the failures of the EDD after hundreds of thousands of jobless Californians reached out to legislative office seeking help with their unemployment claims. Click here to read April EDD letter.
In June, Wilk and colleagues asked for an independent audit of the EDD through the Legislative Audit Committee. Democratic members of JLAC canceled a crucial hearing in August, which would have been an opportunity to review the EDD audit request. Signed by Republican members from both the Assembly and Senate, the letter to JLAC is a bicameral effort to demand answers from EDD. Click here to read the JLAC letter.
In July, Senators Wilk and Melissa Hurtado (D- Porterville) sent a letter to Governor Newsom asking that he staff EDD 24/7 to help clear the backlog. Click here to read the Wilk/Hurtado letter.
In August, a bipartisan coalition of legislators delivered another letter to the Governor demanding that he take action to improve EDD operations. Click here to read the August EDD letter.
In September, members of JLAC approved an audit of the EDD. Click here to read the JLAC approval letter.