California Employment Development Department Will Require UI Claimants to Search for Work

AP Photo/Michael Conroy, File

What a novel concept! California is on its way to fully reopening, so its Employment Development Department is now reinstating the requirement that unemployment insurance recipients must search for work.

California will no longer pay out unemployment to individuals that are not actively seeking new jobs starting early next month, the state’s Employment Development Department (EDD) announced on Thursday after the state government paid out more than $128 billion since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Under normal circumstances, jobless workers were generally required to actively seek out new jobs in order for them to continue to receive unemployment benefits. During the pandemic, the federal government allowed states to waive this requirement as it urged individuals to stay home as businesses shuttered their operations during lockdowns.

But California, along with several other states, has ended most of its pandemic restrictions and will begin requiring jobless workers to actively seek employment as of July 11.

Slow clap. The real reason behind this shift: Newsom is still facing a Recall election, and high rates of unemployment are not sitting well with his image as Savior of the State. Kind of hard to brag that you did everything right, and the state is doing well, if your people continue to drain the already bankrupt coffers by not making any attempts to get off the rolls.

That is, if you even got on the rolls in the first place.

The June California unemployment rate is 7.9 percent. It has dipped a little from the 8.3 percent in May, but still remains the highest in the nation. CA EDD still has a backlog of unprocessed claims: 222,600 of them according to their website. Nor has Newsom, or the department answered for $31 billion of fraud during the pandemic, much of that going to convicted felons and international cyber criminals.

If State Senator Sydney Kamlager has her way, felons are not going to have to do any work, so the new requirement wouldn’t affect them anyway.

More than a year ago, when the fraud first started snowballing, Newsom pledged to take bold steps to fix the overwhelmed system. But the claim backlog has recently ballooned again, along with increased EDD call wait times. The bureaucratic bungling is making daily headlines across the state, handing recall proponents and those running against Newsom easy ammunition.

“EDD kicks Californians already down,” charged an Orange County Register editorial over the weekend. In late May, the California Republican Party hit Newsom for promoting vaccine incentive lotteries and giveaways on “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” while the EDD system remains a mess and the state’s unemployment rate is the second highest in the nation.

Newsom doesn’t even bother to talk about the high UI rate or the unaddressed fraud. He’d rather play “Game Show Gavin” and focus on paying off people to get vaccinated.

This “requirement” in California was always arbitrary at best. Back in the way back years, you actually had to write the dates, names, and addresses of employers to whom you sent your resume on the weekly claim form. While the newer methods may be more digitally oriented, the fact that this department cannot even process UI claims in a timely fashion, does not bode well that they will be able to track whether an applicant is actually looking for work.

Just as with much of California under Newsom, corruption, inefficiency, and lack of checks and balances will continue to portend its destruction.

And he’s still getting Recalled.