California Lawmakers Slam Employment Agency For Slow Benefits Payouts - NBC Los Angeles

Cornelia Mascio
Agosto 1, 2020

Gavin Newsom announced on Wednesday the launch of a "strike team" of technologists, including Code for America and U.S. Digital Response founder Jennifer Pahlka, to modernize the state's backlogged unemployment systems.

More than 1.2 million claims, about a fifth of all applications, haven't been paid out, either because the applicants haven't taken the right steps or they are ineligible, said Sharon Hilliard, head of the Employment Development Department. Newsom said there would be an increased focus on prioritizing the oldest claims and immediately processing claims in the "pending resolution" category. In May and June, many lawmakers implored Newsom and state Labor Secretary Julie Su to do something, anything, to help the jobless get the benefits to which they're entitled. "Californians deserve better, and these reform efforts aim to move the Department in that direction".

The coronavirus pandemic caused millions of Californians to lose their jobs starting in March, and the state has paid out $55 billion, including federal dollars, across 9.3 million claims, Hilliard said.

In a statement emailed to StateScoop, Pahlka said she looks forward to recommending updates to policies, processes and technology that can enable "scalable, agile, human-centered services to meet the needs of Californians".

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