SACRAMENTO, CA - The problems of processing claims and paying unemployed Californians continue to grow. However, the latest issue isn't the computer system, but threats against the employees.
There are now more than 66,000 people who have not had their claims processed for more than 10 days, which is up from 50,000 at the beginning of the week.
But the threats against the California Employment Development Department employees is something the department is reluctant to talk about, spokesperson Loree Levy said.
"I can't confirm that, but what I can tell you is that we are hearing from people that are understandably very upset," Levy added.
Levy said some claimants called EDD employees and threatened suicide.
Messages were posted on a website called EDDsucks.com that provided the names and work numbers of EDD employees. The website's creator pulled the messages down and posted a warning for posters not to make threats or give out personal information on the site.
The EDD said the problem started just after Labor Day when a new software program was put on line to help speed up the system of reading claims, denying or approving those claims and then paying the people who are eligible for unemployment.
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The software developed exclusively for EDD by Deloitte, one of the largest servicing firms in the world, cost nearly $97,000,000. It was the largest part of a $113 million Unemployment Insurance Modernization project, which is supposed to streamline the process.
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After the program went online, EDD noticed it was not communicating well with its 30-year-old claim processing program. The result was tens-of-thousands of unprocessed claims and unpaid jobless Californians who are eligible for benefits.
Levy said the software upgrade was tested for several months before it was pushed out to the public and there were no issues. The problems surfaced when the upgrade went live and was processing real claims while trying to communicate with outdated software and more than seven years of data.
Levy said the issue should start resolving itself in the next week or so after employees fix the problems. She said hundreds of employees will work through the weekend fixing the software issues and processing claims.
By Tom Jensen, email@example.com