Oversight Hearing Focuses on EDD Audit Reports

For immediate release:

Sacramento – Today, Assemblymember Tom Daly (D-Anaheim), Chair of the Assembly Insurance Committee held an oversight hearing with Assemblymember Rudy Salas (D-Bakersfield), Chair of the Joint Legislative Audit Committee.  One audit is “Employment Development Department: EDD’s Poor Planning and Ineffective Management Left It Unprepared to Assist Californians Unprepared to Assist Californians Unemployed by COVID-19 Shutdowns.” The second audit is “Employment Development Department: Significant Weaknesses in EDD’s Approach to Fraud Prevention Have Led to Billions of Dollars in Improper Benefit Payments.”

The California State Auditor told state legislators today that the Employment Development Department has been aware of key operational issues – an inefficient claim filing process, a lack of available qualified staff, and poor call center management – for nearly ten years, but the department has failed to solve these long-time problems.

As a result, State Auditor Elaine Howle said, the economic downturn related to the COVID-19 pandemic worsened EDD’s already poor performance.“As the auditor conveyed, the Employment Development Department was unprepared,” Assemblymember Daly said. “The pandemic caused historic levels of claims but now, almost a year later, the department is still unprepared – unprepared for the phone calls, unprepared for the number of claims, unprepared for the re-identification process, unprepared to prevent fraud and, unprepared to handle those who may be victims of identity theft.”

“EDD has many inadequacies,” Assemblymember Daly said. “Fortunately, my colleagues and I are introducing a number of measures to address these failures.  We will work together to bring these solutions to the Governor’s desk at the earliest opportunity.”

“Today’s hearing confirmed our worst fears and validated the frustrations of millions of Californians,” Assemblymember Salas said. It is clear that EDD did not prepare to meet this crisis and their dysfunction kept families from receiving desperately needed relief. We will make sure that EDD is reformed so that working families are never denied the relief they need during a crisis again. That is why I have introduced AB 56, which will force the EDD to accept and implement these reforms.”

“Last week’s state audits paint a picture as clear as day,” said Assemblymember Cottie Petrie-Norris (D – Laguna Beach). “EDD has been mismanaged and unprepared from the very beginning. And working Californians are the ones who have suffered the consequences. The reports make it clear EDD knew better and should have done better— end of story. EDD’s new leadership must implement the audit recommendations to ensure the public gets their benefits.”

Assemblymember Daly expressed gratitude to the thirty legislators who joined him at today’s hearing.

 

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Assemblymember Tom Daly represents California's 69th Assembly District, which includes the cities of Anaheim, Garden Grove, Orange, and Santa Ana.