Assemblyman Miguel Santiago (D-Los Angeles) joined eight colleagues in announcing legislation on Feb. 4 to bring necessary reforms and oversight to the Employment Development Department’s unemployment insurance program. The legislation would enact consumer protection measures, ensure claimants get timely access to benefits and address fraud.
Since the start of the pandemic, there have been widespread reports of trouble at EDD. Despite freezing 1.4 million accounts due to suspected fraud, which also harmed thousands of legitimate UI claimants, EDD has still fallen prey to rampant unemployment fraud, most egregiously coming out of California prisons.
Santiago introduced Assembly Bill 19 to ensure the state continues to provide unemployment insurance to people who may have exhausted their benefits should the federal government fail to act, therefore providing a much-needed safety net for millions of Californians.
“Our constituents shouldn’t have to wait months and jump through endless hoops to receive their benefits, meanwhile EDD has sent billions to scammers. We could’ve paid rent for hundreds of thousands of Californians if EDD had its act straight. EDD cannot continue to operate so haphazardly,” Santiago said.
AB 19 and others that concern the EDD are expected to be heard in Assembly policy committees in the spring.