Salas Asks Tough Questions of EDD at Joint Oversight Hearing

EDD continues to fail to implement all of the State Auditor’s recommendations

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SACRAMENTO, CA – Assemblymember Rudy Salas (D-Bakersfield) joined the Assembly Budget Sub 4 Committee and the Committee on Accountability for a hearing, which provided an update on reform efforts at the Employment Development Department (EDD). The independent hearing provided oversight and accountability regarding the EDD’s efforts to implement important changes after the department failed to help Californians receive unemployment benefits during the pandemic.

 

“For far too long, EDD has been inconsistent, unresponsive and a failure at delivering the help that working families deserve,” said Assemblymember Salas. “One and a half years after the pandemic started, EDD continues to face a backlog, struggle to hire and retain staff, and still does not have an option for direct deposit. It is critical that we continue to hold EDD accountable to implement the reforms we have outlined in our hearings and legislative bills.”

 

In January, the California State Auditor released an independent report highlighting significant weaknesses in EDD’s approach to fraud prevention, which led to billions of dollars in improper benefit payments being paid out. Additionally, EDD answers only 6 percent of the 4.8 million phone calls they receive. For those 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. The state also faces an uphill battle to curb fraudulent activities, which is estimated to be over $11.4 billion.

 

In response to these issues, Assemblymember Salas passed Assembly Bill (AB) 56, which will implement vital reforms to the 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 economic crisis.

 

The State Assembly also continues to monitor the EDD to make sure they are delivering the changes that the State Auditor and legislators’ recommend to fix the department.

 

To watch a recap of the hearing, visit: https://abgt.assembly.ca.gov/sub4hearingagendas