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Letters to the Editor: Don’t let the EDD get sidetracked by fraud. Paying benefits is the priority

Scott Peterson, seen during his 2004 murder trial, received unemployment benefits.
Scott Peterson, seen during his 2004 murder trial, was one of several death row inmates to receive benefits from the EDD this year.
(Al Golub / Associated Press)

To the editor: Politicians who grandstand about the state Employment Development Department’s failure to pay benefits to people affected by COVID-19 restrictions, and then decry fraudulent payments to prisoners, need to make up their minds. They and the EDD should prioritize getting benefits to people who need them, and work on fraud as a second priority.

If the EDD focuses on fraud, benefits will be delayed for many people. Organizations can’t change their systems or processes without unexpected side effects, and a side effect of increasing controls to prevent fraud will be that people entitled to benefits will be rejected in error.

Every organization suffers from fraud, especially when changes are forced on them and volume spikes. The EDD’s problems are worse than most, but some problems should have been expected with the pandemic.

Cutting fraud is important, but let’s not rob people of the benefits they need.

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Gary Thorne, Yorba Linda

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To the editor: Based on your article, it looks like the strike team that Gov. Gavin Newsom launched earlier this year to “expedite unemployment payments and to minimize abuse of the system” struck out.

Vaughn Hardenberg, Los Angeles

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To the editor: I guess we know how the Department of Motor Vehicles improved its performance. It sent its best and brightest to the EDD.

Joe Sykora, Woodland Hills


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