Harder Asks CA EDD to Provide Answers on Payment Delays

May 26, 2020
Press Release
EDD Estimates Some Claims May Not Be Fulfilled Until July

Modesto, CA – Representative Josh Harder (CA-10) today is calling on the California Employment Development Department (EDD) to provide a clear timeline for the distribution of Unemployment Insurance (UI) benefits. Even though the CARES Act included provisions to move swiftly and extend unemployment distribution, the EDD announced that payments will not be fulfilled until at least July 2020 for those whose unemployment ran out before the pandemic began but are now eligible for the extension.  

“Every single day I get dozens of calls from folks who have been laid off or had their hours cut – they need to pay their bills and keep food on the table – but for too many families the money just doesn’t add up,” said Rep. Harder. “Folks in my community can’t wait until July for help.”

The CARES Act extended unemployment benefits by 13 weeks for all UI beneficiaries. Currently, EDD has these beneficiaries split into two categories. ‘Phase 1’ recipients, those who exhausted all available benefits on their claim that started on or after June 2, 2019, will have their 13 week extensions processed beginning May 27th. ‘Phase 2’ recipients, those who had run out of their regular UI benefits after July 2018 and don’t also meet the criteria for Phase 1, but still qualify for the 13 week extension under the CARES Act, are not expected to receive payment from EDD until at least July 2020.

More than two months ago, Rep. Harder voted to pass the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, which included nearly $1 billion to bolster state unemployment programs like the EDD and guarantee they had the funding to meet the challenge of providing expanded benefits in a timely manner. Rep. Harder also voted to pass the CARES Act, which included the 13 week UI benefit extension.

The text of the letter can be found below and online here.

Dear Director Hilliard,

I am writing in reference to the schedule that the Employment Development Department (EDD) released for the Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation program included in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.1 I urge you to provide faster relief to some of the most vulnerable people in the Central Valley – those who have been out of work the longest – in an untenable financial situation.

On March 27th, Congress passed the CARES Act, with provisions to increase the amount provided by unemployment insurance and extend it by 13 weeks. Before that, we allocated nearly $1 billion to bolster state unemployment programs like EDD’s and prepare them for the challenging task ahead. We did this with the expectation that the aid would make it into the hands of the people who need it as soon as possible. You recently announced that people whose regular unemployment insurance ran out after July 2018 might not start receiving CARES Act benefits until at least July of this year, and possibly later. This is a delay of more than three months from when the CARES Act was signed into law – Central Valley families can’t wait that long.

Day after day, my staff and I have been on the phone with my constituents who are simply trying to make ends meet in the face of the pandemic and stay-at-home policies. They need to pay their bills and feed their families. They need help now without delay. Many constituents have already reached out because they’ve run out of unemployment insurance and are waiting for the extension to come through, and that number is only going to go up with every passing day.

In light of this urgency, please address the following questions:

1. How long will it take for someone to actually receive benefits after they receive their notice to begin the recertification process?

2. How many people do you estimate will be in the “phase 2” group who won’t receive their notices until July?

3. What support can my office or Congress as a whole give to shorten the time it takes to distribute these additional unemployment benefits?

Thank you for the work you do, and for the effort that you and your staff have made so far in this time of crisis. I look forward to working with you in the future.