Why is the EDD Broken?

When job loss or disability impacts your ability to work, the California Employment Development Department (EDD) can offer payment benefits to help you through times of financial hardship. However, when recent events forced millions of Californians out of a job, the EDD repeatedly failed to properly process and disperse benefit requests. Unfortunately, the EDD has a long history of failing California residents in their time of need. Let's dive into exactly what is wrong with the California EDD.

A History of Defects in the Employment Development Department (EDD) 

Back in 2003, the California EDD proposed two new projects to help modernize their unemployment benefit services: upgraded call centers and an automated claim processing system. At an original cost of $96 million for a four-year overhaul, the system upgrades ultimately cost $159 million and were delayed nearly a decade until 2013. These long setbacks resulted in a delay in payments of a month or more for over 100,000 California residents. 

The chaos did not end there. In 2013, shortly after the introduction of the upgraded unemployment benefit service system, close to another 300,000 checks were delayed due to a system malfunction. Later in 2014, a California state audit revealed EDD workers faulted in the benefit computation of claims, resulting in thousands of jobless individuals being wrongly denied unemployment benefits. In addition, only 45 to 51 percent of unemployed workers went on to win their denied benefit appeals with the California Unemployment Insurance Appeals Board (CUIAB) from July 2010 to April 2014.

Recent Unemployment Failures in Response to Emergency

During recent events surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic, unemployment rates surged across the country. California’s unemployment rate jumped to a record-breaking 15.5 percent in April, demonstrating a job loss in over 2 million individuals. Between existing issues and a spike in unemployment, the pressure of the pandemic forced the California EDD to crumble once again. 

Over the past few months, individuals seeking unemployment benefits have been halted with disconnected calls, frozen webpages, and error messages. In an attempt to improve the overwhelmed claim process, the EDD opened a new call center to offer extended hours and a general Q&A. However, the new call center lacked the actual ability to process claims and resolve issues with current applicants. With so many Californians rightfully upset at the current conditions, it’s time to lead the call for the proper administration of benefits and accountability from the EDD.

The Role of Employment Advocates Against the EDD 

From a lack of gathering essential information to failing to contact previous employers, the inadequate process of an EDD worker or system can result in your benefit request being wrongfully denied. If you feel that the EDD wrongfully denied your unemployment or disability benefits, you do have the ability to challenge the decision and reverse it through an appeal with the California Unemployment Insurance Appeals Board (CUIAB). However, due to strict guidelines and specific time limits for filing an appeal, the help of an attorney is key to successfully turning over your benefits denial. 

Bear in mind, you only have 30 days from the listed date on the denial determination letter to file an appeal through the CUIAB. From there, a scheduled hearing will be set for you to present your case in front of an Administrative Law Judge. The court will expect you to answer a series of questions to decide your appeal. Therefore, it’s in your best interest to contact an employment advocate or experienced attorney knowledgeable in the appeals process and familiar with employment law to prepare for your case.