SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KGO) -- The ongoing fiasco at EDD came under the spotlight Monday. Gov. Gavin Newsom released his highly-anticipated task force report on what's gone wrong, revealing 600,000 claims are gathering dust and a million more workers had their benefits cut off.
The EDD now stopped accepting new claims for two weeks, until Oct. 5, while it "resets" to a new system.
Kim Nicol of Santa Rosa is one of the 600,000 workers who still have no benefits months after losing their jobs.
"I've been waiting since August. Aug. 1," she says.
"You can't get through the customer service line, eight till noon -- forget it." Michael Hurley of Concord has been waiting since June. "Absolutely no faith in the system, none at all."
The EDD blocked benefits for both workers, saying they needed to prove they are who they say they are. Like thousands of others, they mailed in paper documents verifying their identity -- but heard nothing back.
The EDD has required thousands of workers to verify their identities as it tries to weed out rampant fraud, but the governor's task force found scammers still got paid while honest workers were blocked from benefits.
During a two-week reset, the EDD will install new technology that automatically verifies applicants' true identity.
"We are not immune from those fraud efforts and we are making real progress to weed them out,'' said Newsom. "What we're doing as part of this two-week reset is implementing a new automated ID verification system, we've come up with a system called 'ID.Me,' this will process about 90 percent (of claims) automatically. It can substantially, not completely, but substantially mitigate fraud."
The governor said the two-week hiatus in claims won't delay new applications.
"The reset does not mean that those of you who are now for the first time applying for benefits will be impacted in terms of those benefits being provided,'' Gov. Newsom said. "Quite the contrary -- we believe this will fast-track the likelihood you would otherwise have gone into a manual process that could take up to 60 days. Unacceptable."
7 on Your Side's Michael Finney asked Gov. Newsom if these fixes will make a difference.
"Good afternoon, Governor," said Finney. "Are you really confident that six months of failure and years of mismanagement and neglect can be fixed with a two-week reset?"
Gov. Newsom said the EDD must move into the modern era and that will take more than two weeks.
"We're taking advantage of all the contemporary information we have learned over the last six months to make sure we're not paving over the old cow path. That we're not just moving forward with something that made a lot of sense a year ago, but makes no sense based on the volume and the experience we've had over the last six months. So to answer your question is we're making short-term commitments and we have medium-term strategies, but we're here for the long haul, we're going to get this right."
Bottom line: what does this "reset" mean for folks who are still waiting for their benefits?
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