SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KION)
UPDATE 9/21/2020 1:15 p.m. One of the main topics in Gov. Gavin Newsom's Monday update was new information about the two week reset the state's Employment Development Department is undergoing.
The reset started Saturday and is expected to last through Oct. 5. Newsom said the current system for unemployment assistance is out of date and needs to be upgraded, so the state put together a task force to put together a report with recommendations.
During the reset period, Newsom said the EDD will implement an automatic ID verification software, redeploy experienced staff to process the oldest and most complex claims and have new staff focus on mail, email and an outbound call effort.
The goal of the reset is to reduce the current backlog- which is made up of about 600,000 Californians whose claims have not been processed for more than 21 days and 1 million cases where residents received payments and are waiting for a resolution to their modified claims- and prevent growth of the backglog. It is also an effort to make online access to benefits easier and simpler.
During the news conference, Director Sharon Hilliard with EDD said they are trying to make sure nobody is added to the backlog and said people should see the benefits in the next two weeks, but she also predicted that it may take until the end of January for the backlog to be fully cleared. Hilliard said they will be clearing the backlog every day until then.
Newsom said that new applicants should expect to see a three week timeline.
According to the Associated Press, more than 2 million people are out of work in California during the COVID-19 pandemic
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Cal Fire reports that there are currently more than 19,000 firefighters battling 27 major wildfires in California. The agency said that since Aug. 15, 26 people have died and more than 6,400 structures have been destroyed.
There have been more than 778,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases statewide as of Sept. 19, according to the California Department of Public Health. The death toll has surpassed 15,000, according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University.