California’s EDD remains susceptible to fraud, as more federal COVID relief is on the horizon

With many businesses shut down due to the coronavirus pandemic, California’s Employment Development Department has been flooded with unemployment claims, including many fraudulent ones. Photo by Amy Ta/KCRW.

Unemployment benefits are set to expire in about two weeks for millions of people still out of work because of coronavirus. That’s why lawmakers in Washington are rushing to get a nearly $2 trillion stimulus package on President Joe Biden’s desk soon. 

But in California, state officials have a big reason to be worried about another huge influx of cash for the unemployed. The agency that manages unemployment claims, the Employment Development Department, has been plagued with at least $11 billion worth of fraud since the pandemic started. Officials are still working out some of the big problems that left the state vulnerable to fraudsters.