SACRAMENTO – California Senators Scott Wilk (R-Santa Clarita), representing the 21st Senate District and Melissa Hurtado (D-Sanger), representing the 14th Senate District, announced they have asked Governor Newsom to issue an Executive Order to keep the state Employment Development Department phone lines and operations open and fully staffed 24 hours a day, 7 days a week until the backlog in claims processing is addressed.
“When our constituents can’t feed their families or keep roofs over their heads because EDD has failed to process months-old unemployment claims, it is not a political issue — it is a crisis,” Wilk said. “California is in a crisis and without drastic actions, the situation at EDD will only continue to deteriorate, especially if the state continues on the trajectory of opening and closing businesses in response to the pandemic. If EDD doesn’t clear this up quickly people will end up out of their homes and in the streets.”
“The COVID pandemic has created unprecedented unemployment throughout the state. While the statewide average sits around 15%, parts of the southern central valley is upward of 24%,” Hurtado said. “To address this extraordinary time in the pandemic we have no choice but to provide unfettered access to help process claims.”
EDD’s long history of technology problems has been exacerbated by the surge of Californians applying for unemployment during the pandemic resulting in a backlog of claims, unanswered phone lines, glitches in the claims process and other problems.
As an emergency workaround to the failed IT systems at EDD, Senators Hurtado and Wilk have requested that the governor issue an Executive Order to keep EDD operational at all times until the backlog is addressed.
Read the letter here.