SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — Jessica Mattly was all smiles Thursday, ironically, thanks to the state Employment Development Department.
“For the first time they called me,” she said. “I didn't call them. It was great.”
A representative from the EDD, which issues unemployment insurance payments, called Mattly to tell her that they finally processed her application for jobless benefits. They’d begin by sending her four weeks of backpay.
Mattly’s had been trying to get through to the EDD since she lost her job at a San Diego resort in late March, when Coronavirus restrictions went into effect. She filed for unemployment immediately, but like thousands of other San Diegans, got a request from the EDD for identity verification.
She submitted the necessary documents, but never heard anything back.
“I would just keep dialing, and keep dialing, and keep dialing, and I understand the definition of insanity. I do. And it felt like that was my only option,” she said.
Mattly kept running into walls, until she turned to State Sen. Ben Hueso’s office, which contacted the EDD on her behalf.
That lead to Thursday's phone call.
Others, like Audee Kammer - just wouldn't take no for an answer.
The EDD denied her identity documentation twice. She called hundreds of times - finally appealing the denials and getting a telephone hearing with a judge, who authorized payments.
“I could see how some people, it could just throw them into deep depression and despair,” she said. “I feel for a lot of people out there that are in my same situation that I was and don't have the drive to keep knocking on that door.”
Meanwhile, the latest state numbers show more than 230,000 San Diego County residents are unemployed.
The EDD says its funding has increased drastically since the pandemic began and is now undertaking a massive hiring effort.
It has filled 900 new positions to process an unprecedented amount of claims - with an additional 1,900 openings.
Sen. Hueso represents the 40th Senate District, which includes portions of the County of San Diego and all of Imperial County. If you don't reside in District 40, you should contact your elected representatives for your area. To find your representative, click here.