A strike team appointed by California Gov. Gavin Newsom issued a report Saturday indicating that the state’s unemployment benefits system needs a complete overhaul.
The report, which took 45 days to compile, indicates a backlog of unresolved claims that is growing by 10,000 a day. As a result, money needed by the state’s jobless remains stuck in the bureaucracy, and it will take months to clear up the problem.
Newsom requested the report in July, and his request was joined by state legislators last week, who requested an emergency audit of its performance.
“The State must deliver this benefit to those who qualify within a time frame that’s relevant to the well-being of the claimant, and it was failing to do that for too many Californians,” the report stated.
The report made 100 recommendations, including some immediate fixes and longer term projects. A streamlined identity verification process is expected to be ready by Oct. 5, speeding up the process for 90% of applications to be approved within a few weeks.
Since March, when the pandemic caused the shutdown of all but essential businesses, the state has paid out more than $86 billion in unemployment benefits on 12.6 million claims.