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Economy

Lawmakers Demand Answers On Unemployment Check Delays

The people in charge of issuing unemployment checks in California are trying to explain why thousands of payments were delayed this fall. Top officials from the Employment Development Department answered to lawmakers at a legislative hearing Wednesday.

Lawmakers Demand Answers on Employment Check Delays
The people in charge of issuing unemployment checks in California are trying to explain why thousands of payments were delayed this fall.

The delays came as the department was switching to a new payment software system. The EDD's Sharon Hilliard said the 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.

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"The removal of the stop-pay flags proved to be a much greater challenge than anticipated as staff needed time to assess the relevance of the stop-pay flags in the new system," Hilliard said.

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

Hilliard said the software switch involved more than a billion records and 6 million unemployment claims. She said 80 percent of claims were paid on-time.

About 148,000 people experienced delays receiving their unemployment checks.