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Frustration grows as unemployment payments delayed

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Posted at 5:05 PM, Apr 27, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-27 20:05:59-04

Angela Tobin is now in her sixth week of unemployment.

She still hasn't received a penny from the state.

“My hands are tied behind my back, there's no income coming in,” said Tobin, a dental hygienist who lives in Poway.

Tobin, who is raising two children with her husband, says it's especially hard because she’s her family breadwinner.

She filed for unemployment the day after she lost her job - but the state Employment Development Department said there was a problem with her application. She mailed the necessary form, but said she never heard back and can't get through on the phone.

“It's taken a real emotional toll on me and my family and I'm just desperate at this point,” she said.

It's an increasingly frustrating scenario that is becoming more common across San Diego.

The EDD says it's working hard to process claims - but is still operating on limited hours for claims assistance by phone.

It has processed a staggering 3.2 million claims since the coronavirus outbreak.

“It's been almost four weeks so why is it taking so long?,” said Miguel Raphael, who lost his job as a corporate chef a month ago.

Raphael says he got his first unemployment check of $414, but then the EDD stopped the payments for identity verification.

Raphael says he sent the necessary information via certified mail, but a month later the money is still on hold. His wife is also pregnant with their second child, and is expecting within the next couple of weeks.

“I think they shouldn't ask people to verify their identification if they can't process the paper at a proper time,” Raphael said.

Raphael says he can't get a straight answer - meanwhile, his $2,400 dollar rent is due in a matter of days.

The EDD says the most efficient way to file for unemployment is to do so online. It has expanded call center hours for technical support questions only - from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. seven days a week.

The agency did not immediately respond to requests for additional comment.