SACRAMENTO, CA – Today, Assemblymember Rudy Salas, Chair of the Joint Legislative Committee (JLAC), forwarded the State Auditor his request for an emergency audit of the Employment Development Department (EDD), the state agency responsible for providing unemployment insurance benefits to Californians. Assemblymember Salas was joined by a bipartisan group of 39 legislators in calling for an audit of the EDD to shed light on a host of issues with the department’s COVID-19 response. The State Auditor’s office will begin work on the audit no later than the end of September.
“Californians are suffering and need immediate relief from the EDD,” said Assemblymember Salas. “We need to address why families are unable to talk to someone when they call EDD, the status of clearing the substantial case backlogs, and what is being done to protect Californians from the rising fraud and scam cases that continue to target our most vulnerable communities. I am pleased this emergency audit request is finally moving forward so that we can have our independent State Auditor identify issues and solutions in order for my colleagues and I to chart a path forward and out of this crisis.”
Assemblymember Salas’ emergency audit seeks to do the following:
- Assess the reasons for backlogged unemployment insurance claims and the effectiveness of EDD’s efforts and timeframes for eliminating the backlog, including, but not limited to technological issues, and state or federal laws that have contributed to the delay or prevent EDD from processing claims faster.
- Evaluate the effectiveness of EDD’s actions to improve call center performance and response time. This evaluation should also include EDD’s hiring, on- boarding, and training efforts to increase call center staffing levels.
- Determine the magnitude of EDD’s claims workload, including the number and percentage of claims that were approved, denied, pending, and backlogged since the beginning of the pandemic.
- Assess EDD’s call center capacity and determine trends in the volume of calls received, the time it takes EDD to respond to callers, the percentage of callers connected to a representative, and the number of calls during which the caller was disconnected from the call.
- Assess the technological infrastructure to determine if it is delaying or preventing EDD from processing claims faster.
Assemblymember Salas represents part of the City of Bakersfield, the cities of Arvin, Hanford, Corcoran, Delano, Lemoore, McFarland, Shafter, Wasco, and the communities of Armona, Avenal, Buttonwillow, Home Garden, Kettleman City, Lamont, Lost Hills, Stratford and Weedpatch.