OAKLAND - The Brown administration said Wednesday afternoon it hopes to finish paying thousands of backlogged claims for jobless benefits by next Tuesday, after ordering the Employment Development Department to begin paying backlogged claims for continued benefits before determining if they are eligible for payment.
"I just felt it was an intolerable situation, and we've got to get people their money," Marty Morgenstern, secretary of the state Labor and Workforce Development Agency, told reporters before an event in Oakland to celebrate Gov. Jerry Brown's enactment of a bill to raise California's minimum wage to $10 an hour by 2016.
EDD, which is upgrading its 30-year-old unemployment insurance processing system, said Friday that about 185,000 of the state's nearly 800,000 people receiving benefits had been affected by a computer problem that started during the Labor Day weekend. The department said earlier this week that about 80,000 backlogged claims had yet to be cleared.
Asked whether the administration had moved quickly enough to intervene, Brown said, "I think they're moving fast."
The Democratic governor said EDD has been hampered by federal budget cuts.
"We all know about computers, they do break down," he said. "The department will get those checks out just as quickly as they can."
State Sen. Mark DeSaulnier, D-Concord, said his office has fielded numerous telephone calls from claimants waiting for checks.
For those people who are unemployed, he said, "It's awful."
PHOTO: Marty Morgenstern, secretary of the state Labor and Workforce Development Agency, speaks with reporters in Oakland on Sept. 25, 2013. The Sacramento Bee/David Siders
VIDEO: Gov. Jerry Brown talks to reporters in Oakland on Sept. 25, 2013. The Sacramento Bee/David Siders