CA Unemployment Claims Update

Further to our earlier notes about the state’s processing of first time unemployment claims, the Employment Development Department (EDD) improved its performance in May but tens of thousands of Californians are still waiting unacceptably long periods of time. In May, payments to more than 200,000 first time claimants — 30% of total first time claimants — took at least 14 days to be issued.

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We are glad to see improvement but don’t understand why California still can’t reach the levels of service obtained by (say) Instacart, Amazon and the State of Rhode Island*, who all faced massive increases in COVID-caused demand and responded quickly with fixes. We live in a digital age, California is at the epicenter of digital industry, and 14 or more days is much too long for any of our fellow residents to go without support.

Govern For California supports lawmakers who serve the general interest.

*Some legislators have suggested it is easier for a small state like Rhode Island to ramp up rapidly but of course what matters is proportion. Before COVID both California and Rhode Island were staffed and structured to supply benefits to their unemployed populations at that time and after COVID both states were faced with proportionate explosions in demand for benefits. The relative lift is the same, especially in a digital world.

Lecturer at Stanford University and president of Govern For California

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