Prolonged Federal Shutdown Could Hamper California Unemployment Benefits

CPR Photo/Max Pringle
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California’s Employment Development Department could be facing new problems if the federal shutdown drags on. The EDD only recently overcame sequestration cuts, computer problems and staff furloughs.

Employment Development Department officials say funding for unemployment benefits is secure for the next month or so. They say if there’s a prolonged federal shutdown, benefit payments might be delayed and other vital services could be suspended.

“Those funds are services that include job training and various other supportive services,” says Patti Roberts with the EDD. “They’re at our local offices which are called the America’s Job Centers of California.”

Roberts says the federal government routinely underfunds the department and cuts contributions further when the unemployment rate drops.

But she says the EDD was recently able to restore benefit cuts that had been forced by sequestration.

“We know that it’s a lifeline for people,” says Roberts. “It’s both living expenses on housing and on food and other essential items.”

The department is also reducing the backlog of payments, which were delayed by problems with a new computer filing system and has also ended mandatory unpaid furlough days for its employees.




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