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Bill Set To Address Billions In Prison Unemployment Fraud

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Sacramento, CA –In the past year audits have uncovered billions of dollars in misspent UI benefits at the EDD due to the inability to prevent fraud. Between March and August 2020, more than 34,00 Pandemic Unemployment Assistance claims were filed on behalf of inmates, and more than half of those claims were paid despite inmates being ineligible to receive the benefits under current law.

This bill would require California to cross-reference EDD claims with state prison rolls, a program already implemented in 37 other states. The author of the bill Senator Shannon Grove explains

“The State Auditor has made it clear that EDD was both poorly managed and vulnerable to fraud especially when the COVID-19 pandemic hit. Given the Department’s historic failure and continued unwillingness to implement audit recommendations, it is critical that the Legislature hold EDD’s feet to the fire to better serve unemployed Californians, I applaud the Public Safety Committee for supporting this important bill.”

SB 39 passed with a bipartisan vote of 4 to 0. The measure will next be heard by the Senate Committee on Labor, Public Employment, and Retirement.