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SB-420 Unemployment insurance: Unemployment Insurance Integrity Program.(2021-2022)

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Date Published: 02/12/2021 09:00 PM
SB420:v99#DOCUMENT


CALIFORNIA LEGISLATURE— 2021–2022 REGULAR SESSION

Senate Bill
No. 420


Introduced by Senator Umberg

February 12, 2021


An act to add Section 320.4 to the Unemployment Insurance Code, relating to unemployment insurance.


LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


SB 420, as introduced, Umberg. Unemployment insurance: Unemployment Insurance Integrity Program.
Existing law establishes the Employment Development Department within the Labor and Workforce Development Agency and sets forth its powers and duties, including administration of the unemployment and disability insurance programs for California. Existing law requires the department to pay unemployment compensation benefits to unemployed individuals meeting specified requirements, to periodically review policies and practices used to determine eligibility for and the amount of benefits in the unemployment insurance program, and to report to the Legislature, as specified.
This bill would establish the Unemployment Insurance Integrity Program within the department, to publish and revise specified information provided to the public by the department related to the repayment of benefits and backlogged claims. The bill would require the program to develop a recession plan for the purpose of improving access to services provided by the department during economic downturns, and specify required findings and recommendations for the recession plan. The bill would require that the director submit the recession plan to the Legislature, as specified, on by January 1, 2023.
The bill would provide that the annual costs and expenses associated with the program shall be funded upon appropriation by the Legislature in the annual Budget Act or other statute.
Vote: MAJORITY   Appropriation: NO   Fiscal Committee: YES   Local Program: NO  

The people of the State of California do enact as follows:


SECTION 1.

 Section 320.4 is added to the Unemployment Insurance Code, to read:

320.4.
 (a) There is hereby created within the department the Unemployment Insurance Integrity Program, to be administered by the director.
(b) The program shall do all of the following:
(1) Publish on the department’s internet website, at least once every six months, the total amount of benefit payments for which the department has required repayment, and the total of those amounts that has been repaid.
(2) Revise public dashboards maintained by the department related to backlogged claims for unemployment and disability benefits to clearly distinguish between claims awaiting payment and claims that have been paid.
(c) The program shall develop a recession plan for the purpose of improving access to services provided by the department during economic downturns. The recession plan shall include all of the following:
(1) Findings related to effects of previous economic downturns on the department’s services, including the effect of increased claims resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic.
(2) Findings related to temporary automation measures for claims processing, and recommendations regarding whether those measures should be made a permanent feature of claims processing.
(3) A risk assessment of the department’s deferred eligibility determinations to recommend the most appropriate order to process those deferred eligibility determinations.
(4) To improve the department’s call center performance, data related to the reasons why people who call the department need assistance, and the rate of calls that successfully resolve caller issues.
(d) By January 1, 2023, the director shall submit to the Legislature the recession plan in accordance with Section 9795 of the Government Code.
(e) The department’s annual costs and expenses associated with the implementation of this section shall not be paid out of the Unemployment Administration Fund or the Unemployment Fund, and shall, instead, be funded upon appropriation by the Legislature in the annual Budget Act or other statute.