SACRAMENTO, Calif. — California's Employment Development Department (EDD) announced some notable changes on Saturday, based on recommendations of the "EDD Strike Team."
Governor Gavin Newsom announced the creation of the team in late July to look into issues at the EDD, including a backlog in processing benefit applications, and trouble getting help on the claim support phone line.
The EDD is now implementing what they're referring to as "a two-week reset," during which they won't be processing new, first-time claims through October 4th. Applicants will instead be redirected to a temporary site where they'll be asked to enter information that will allow the EDD to contact them with information on how to file a claim using the new system on October 5th.
The EDD claim support phone line also will be shut down during that time.
Changes being made are expected to make the claims process work more efficiently, and reduce opportunities for fraud.
EDD also says their most experienced agents will be redirected from phone and training duty to focus on the oldest and most complex claims. More staff also will be tasked with dealing with mail and email to help resolve older claims. They say the goal is to clear the backlog of unpaid claims by January.
That backlog, according to EDD, includes nearly 600,000 new claims filed over 21 days ago that remain unprocessed. They also estimate that there are over 1 million backlogged claims that were initially paid, but then held up due to later certification issues.
EDD says they are reviewing their data and will issue an update on Thursday.
According to their latest figures, EDD has paid out over $86 billion in unemployment benefits on more than 13 million claims since the coronavirus pandemic began in mid-March.