Live EDD hearing: Officials unaware of benefits foul-up for 2 weeks

Job seekers at the Verdugo Jobs Center in Glendale on Monday.
Job seekers at the Verdugo Jobs Center in Glendale on Monday.
(Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times)

Underway in Sacramento, an Assembly panel is questioning officials about the botched rollout of an upgrade to the California unemployment benefits system.

It took two weeks for officials at California’s Employment Development Department to realize there were problems with their software upgrade, according to testimony at the oversight hearing Wednesday.

UPDATES: Follow real-time updates on hearing below

Sabrina Reed, head of the EDD’s unemployment insurance program, said that, following the Labor Day launch, officials heard from many workers that the new system to distribute unemployment checks was working.


One worker, however, emailed her directly to tell officials not to celebrate too soon. The worker said the new system was not working properly.

Reed told lawmakers that she initially thought the worker needed more training.

Lawmakers called the hearing to delve into what went wrong and to figure out how to avoid problems when the public portion of the software upgrade goes live later.

Sharon Hilliard, acting director of the EDD, apologized for the delay in benefits to Californians affected by a computer glitch.

About half a dozen Assembly members were expected to attend the hearing examining the malfunction of the computer upgrade launch over the Labor Day weekend. A glitch caused payments for as many as 300,000 claims to be delayed.

The EDD has been working overtime to fix the problems, but some affected Californians have endured financial hardship, falling behind on rent, utilities and other bills.