EDD phone system cutting off callers as agency faces historic strain

Posted at 5:46 PM, May 19, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-20 14:14:51-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — The state agency that issues unemployment payments is so overwhelmed that people calling for help with their claims can't even wait on hold.

Instead, they are greeted with a three-minute recording that refers them to a line specifically for tech support, or to go online to handle their personal issues.

"We are sorry we are unable to answer your call at this time. You will now be disconnected. Thank you," the EDD recording says.

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Leslie Turnipseed, of Rancho San Diego, says she gets that recording every time she calls.

Turnipseed lost her job at a Fashion Valley retail store, and applied for unemployment. She said her application went smoothly, and she even got a confirmation showing a balance - but it's been more than a month and she hasn't received a penny or a debit card.

Her hunch is that the problem stems from the EDD mailing her letters under a last name from a prior marriage, which she legally changed in 1997. She says a quick call with a human being could probably correct the error.

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"I don't know if they just entered my Social Security and went, 'oh yeah Leslie, bam, that's the account,' they didn't do any update?" Turnipseed said.

The EDD is under historical strain, processing nearly 5 million claims for unemployment since the pandemic started. EDD spokeswoman Loree Levy said the agency is now trying to hire 1,500 people, and redirected another 1,300 to help with claims.

Levy added claimants can make phone appointments with their local America's Job Center of California.