SAN DIEGO -- The state Employment Development Department says it has addressed nearly all of the 1.6 million backlogged unemployment claims a "strike team" identified in September.
A backlogged claim is one that takes more than three weeks to issue an initial or continuing payment, or determine disqualification. The EDD says that's regardless of whether a claimant or EDD needs to take some type of action.
In all, the EDD says it has processed a total of 19.6 million unemployment claims since the start of the pandemic, more than five times the amount it did in 2010, the worst economic year of The Great Recession.
The EDD also provided an update on the 1.4 million claims it froze as potentially fraudulent in January.
It directed 1.1 million of those claimants to verify their identities on a site called ID.me. To date, the agency says a little over 300,000 people have validated their identity through the web service.
Another 100,000 people got paper instructions for identity verification, including Victoria Lage, an Encinitas resident. Lage lost her job as a server at Valentina in Leucadia when the shut-down order took effect in December. She finally got through this week, and must do a phone interview before benefits start.
"I'm starting to dip into (student) loans for living costs. Yes, I live with my mom, but I still have living costs. I have books, food, car, all those kind of things," said Lage, who is studying for doctorate in Chinese Medicine.
The EDD says the remaining 200,000 must do eligibility verification, or are being disqualified with a right to appeal.
The agency says only about half of the people who got emailed instructions have actually opened their emails.