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California lawmakers grill EDD on system improvements, backlog of unprocessed claims

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KGO) — State lawmakers demanded answers from the EDD’s top officials today on why thousands are still waiting for benefits, while fraud remains rampant. It happened at an assembly hearing Wednesday.

The EDD took two weeks to “re-set,” and lawmakers asked today what’s improved since then. They weren’t too impressed with the answers.

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EDD officials reported that a new ID verification system is now in place, and 64 percent of new claims were automatically verified. But lawmakers said EDD has barely put a dent in a backlog of 1.6 million claims that go back as far as June – and won’t get cleared up until next year, leaving many folks still waiting for benefits.

“You’ve done some caseloads, but it went down from 1.6 million to 1.3 million, so not a big dent in that… You’re saying you won’t liquidate the backlog till 2021. Can you tell me why it’s gonna take that long?” asked Assemblyman Jim Cooper (D – Elk Grove).

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“Yes it’s gonna take that long because the work is complex and complicated and we have X number of professional staff,” said Sharon Hilliard, director of the Employment Development Department.

The EDD also reported it has 75 open fraud cases going on, but the director said the EDD has no idea how much it has paid out to scammers. Some legislators think it’s in the billions.

VIDEO: East Bay woman watches via text as scammer drains EDD benefits

Take a look at more stories and videos by Michael Finney and 7 On Your Side.

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