California EDD to speed up unemployment benefits, adopt ‘pay now’ policy


A ‘Help Wanted’ sign is posted beside Coronavirus safety guidelines in front of a restaurant in Los Angeles, California on May 28, 2021. – Following over a year of restrictions due to the coronavirus pandemic, many jobs at restaurants, retail stores and bars remain unfilled, despite California’s high unemployment rate, causing some owners to fear they will not be able to fully reopen by the June 15th date California has given for a full reopening of the economy. (Photo by Frederic J. BROWN / AFP) (Photo by FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP via Getty Images)

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KRON) — The Employment Development Department (EDD) announced Thursday it will begin releasing unemployment benefits to hundreds of thousands who were stuck in the review process.

Under pressure, EDD said it will stop freezing benefits for people whose existing claims have eligibility questions.

Instead, it will offer “conditional payments” to people who’ve certified for and received at least a week’s worth of benefits rather than putting people in “pending” status while EDD investigates whether they are eligible.

“We know many claimants who cleared fraud filters and verified identity have been waiting too long for payment,” said EDD Director Rita Saenz. “In response, we are launching a new program that will help many Californians get benefits faster.”

The department will begin sending notices this week to those who will benefit from this pay-now policy. Payments will be reaching claimant accounts starting Friday and over the following weeks.

Further updates and information about the conditional payment program will be posted on the Claim Status webpage.

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