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Tech Upgrade Derails California Unemployment Benefits

Data conversion over Labor Day weekend caused a glitch in California's unemployment processing system.

An upgrade to California’s unemployment insurance processing system has delayed the issuance of benefits to thousands of claimants.

According to the Sacramento Bee, a data conversion project sparked a glitch that held up approximately 50,000 unemployment checks in California. The delay affected about 6 percent of unemployed residents.

In an interview with the Bee, Loree Levy, an EDD spokeswoman, said the computer glitch was caused when archived data was being moved into the new processing system earlier this month. Old "stop pay” flags in that data affected a percentage of unemployment claims during the first two weeks of September. EDD is manually adjusting the affected claimant accounts.

A notice on the department's website said the state is "working around the clock" to fix the problem. The upgrade of EDD’s 30-year-old processing system is part of a multi-year project that enables residents to submit information to the state for unemployment insurance benefits online and through the phone.

Brian Heaton was a writer for Government Technology and Emergency Management magazines from 2011 to mid-2015.