Senator Dave Cortese Requests Further Oversight to Right EDD Wrongs

Newly sworn-in Senator Dave Cortese (D-San Jose) spoke at a Senate Hearing relating to the Audit of the State’s Employment Development Department’s (EDD) Performance and Management as thousands face delays in receiving their unemployment benefits.

The Audit revealed Bank of America froze nearly 350,000 accounts that were suspected to be fraudulent, without a well-defined plan in place to unfreeze those claims that were legitimate, leaving many struggling amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Senator Cortese requested that EDD as well as Bank of America, by way of its contract with the state, undergo ongoing auditing to resolve fiscal issues that are harming taxpayers in the state of California.

“The fact of the matter is benefits being unfairly delayed or denied is unacceptable. The people of California are clearly asking more from us than this,” said Senator Cortese, Chair of the Senate Labor, Public Employment and Retirement Committee.

The Senator revealed that his local Senate office has been individually managing and expediting thousands of EDD cases at a time to assist constituents and provide them the relief they need during the pandemic.

“There are hundreds of open EDD cases currently being handled by my staff,” said Cortese.

But it should not get to the point where legislative offices must step in to reverse EDD’s mishandling of cases, the Senator said, who expressed frustration with the delays and lack of ability and capacity to handle incoming calls at EDD.

“The pandemic has laid bare deep cracks in our system, including the need for better communication between, EDD, legislators, and the public as well as advanced phone and electronic communication centers to ensure those struggling can access the benefits they need.”

“I’m requesting that an auditor be embedded in EDD’s activities daily to carry out ongoing auditing procedures, a common practice for banking institutions as well as the IRS, to ensure these patterns don’t continue and EDD’s larger systemic problems are addressed.”

View the Senator’s comments here.

For more information, contact Tara Sreekrishnan, Office of Senator Dave Cortese at 408 480 7833 or