SACRAMENTO, CA – Assemblymember Rudy Salas (D-Bakersfield) successfully passed Assembly Bill (AB)
56 with overwhelming bipartisan support, out of the State Assembly. AB 56 will implement vital reforms to the
Employment Development Department (EDD) by speeding up eligible unemployment insurance claims,
protecting Californians from identity theft, preventing rampant fraud of the unemployment insurance system,
and ensuring that California is ready to meet the next crisis.
“AB 56 implements vital reforms by speeding up eligible claims, protecting families from theft, and ensuring
prisoners and other criminals are not able to defraud and access EDD benefits,” said Assemblymember Salas.
“Common sense reforms are needed to overhaul the EDD and bring relief to thousands of California families.
AB 56 helps move the state forward by reforming EDD to ensure that Californians are put first, receive the
assistance they need, and that criminals are not hijacking families' unemployment assistance.”
AB 56 seeks to address the many issues plaguing EDD that have negatively impacted working families
throughout California. Among these issues, EDD answers only 10 percent of incoming calls while sitting on
almost a million backlogged claims. For individuals who have received their benefits, tens-of-thousands have
had their EDD debit cards mistakenly frozen by Bank of America and can no longer access their money. EDD
still faces millions of work hours to get through its deferred workload, including authorizing retroactive benefits
for those who have been stuck waiting. Additionally, the state also faces an uphill battle to curb fraudulent
activities, which is estimated to be over $11.4 billion.
AB 56 would address these issues by requiring EDD to create a new unit to coordinate all fraud prevention
efforts, requiring EDD to obtain a list of all frozen Bank of America accounts immediately and evaluate them,
creating working groups to improve EDD’s claims process. The bill will also improve identity monitoring
services if EDD continues to mail out full SSNs. Additionally, the bill would require EDD to assess the
effectiveness of cross-checking the names of new claimants with the Department of Corrections and
Rehabilitation to ensure that benefits are not sent to incarcerated individuals. Lastly, AB 56 would hold EDD
accountable by requiring EDD to provide free identity theft monitoring services if it continues to put
Californians at risk of identity theft.
AB 56 will now head to the State Senate.