Legislation aimed at fraud moves ahead

Senator Scott Wilk of the 21st district.

Legislation tackling fraud in state unemployment claims authored by state Sen. Scott Wilk, R-Santa Clarita, is headed to the California State Senate Appropriations Committee next month after successfully passing through the Senate Judiciary Committee. 

In an attempt to prevent fraud, Senate Bill 58 would prohibit the Employment Development Department, which administers unemployment claims in California, from including full Social Security numbers on correspondence by Oct. 1.  

Wilk, along with coauthor Sen. Melisa Hurtado, D-Sanger, used a 2019 report from the State Auditor to inform their legislation. The report recommends excluding full Social Security numbers from correspondence, among other recommendations. 

“EDD sent at least 38 million pieces of mail with claimants’ full Social Security numbers in the first eight months of the pandemic,” Wilk said in a prepared statement. “It is no coincidence that this coincided with over $10.4 billion in fraudulent claims being paid out in the same time period. The fact that the agency had not fully implemented the auditor’s 2019 recommendations on using these Social Security numbers is appalling, especially since the agency was warned of the risks associated with that practice in 2019.” 

The bill also calls on EDD to use “existing resources (to) designate a single unit responsible for coordinating fraud prevention and align the unit’s duties with best practices for detecting and preventing fraud.” 

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