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Lawmakers Demand Answers Over Unemployment Check Delays


About 148 thousand Californian’s experienced delays receiving their unemployment checks when staff at the state’s Employment Development Department started using a new payment software system. The EDD’s Sharon Hilliard apologized to everyone affected.

“We take very seriously our commitment to serving the public,” she said, “which is why so many people have dedicated so much time and energy to resolving these payment issues.”

But Hilliard’s words did little to satisfy lawmakers who demanded to know what caused the delays. Hilliard said the software switch required staff to manually review every case that was tagged with a stop-pay flag in the old system before it could be processed in the new system.

“The removal of the stop-pay flags proved to a much great challenge than anticipated as staff needed time to assess the relevance of the stop-pay flags in the new system,” she said.

EDD also experienced problems issuing the forms needed for people to continue receiving benefits.

Hilliard said the software switch involved over a billion records and six-million unemployment claims. She said 80 percent of claims were paid on time.

The department is considering phasing in public use of the software in 2014 to safeguard against more delays.


Katie Orr

Health Care Reporter

Katie Orr covers health policy for Capital Public Radio. She received her Masters in Political Science from San Diego State University. In her spare time Katie enjoys wine tasting and shopping, though she tries not to combine the two.  Read Full Bio