Some clouds

Number of delayed California jobless claims grows

LOS ANGELES — The number of Californians left without unemployment insurance checks for weeks because of computer problems was significantly higher than previously thought, according to a newspaper investigation.

The Los Angeles Times (http://lat.ms/1aexm3B ) cites internal Employment Development Department emails that show as many as 300,000 claims were stalled when a software upgrade went online over Labor Day weekend. The EDD previously said 80,000 claimants were affected.

The Assembly Insurance Committee, which oversees California's unemployment benefits program, will hold a hearing before the end of the year to determine what went wrong with a system that cost taxpayers $110 million, almost double the original estimate.

Some blame the EDD's slow response to the problem that created the massive backlog of claims. Others are pointing fingers at contractor Deloitte Consulting. The New York firm has been blamed for similar troubles with upgrades to unemployment software in Massachusetts, Pennsylvania and Florida, the Times said.

Republican Sen. Anthony Cannella has called on the Senate's Labor and Industrial Relations Committee, which oversees the EDD, to investigate the state's Deloitte contract.

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