EDD Getting Non-Funding-Related Assistance from U.S. Labor Department
U.S. Department of Labor employees have been reviewing eligibility requirements for unemployment insurance and the process people have to go through to receive benefits.
Terra Bark of Sacramento is unemployed and was unable to find answers to her questions online or by phone or at an EDD job training center.
"I tried calling the number and it just said they had too many people and they couldn't access it through... you had to go through the website, that's it. I didn't get to speak with anybody," Bark said. "And so I came down here today thinking I might get some answers, but they just referred me back to the website."
Loree Levy with the Employment Development Department says EDD is well aware of the problems with the phone system, but she says funding cuts by the Department of Labor are to blame. She says staffing was cut by a third last year.
"Even though the funding model says EDD should receive this much money to properly administer the program here in California," Levy said, "It's shorting us significantly -to the tune of about $150 million last year."
EDD says the loss of staff has greatly increased the time it takes to process the 20-percent of claims that require additional attention.
Governor Jerry Brown, Congresswoman Doris Matsui and at least 14 other members of Congress have sent letters to the Department of Labor asking for increased funding.
Matsui's office says it has received complaints from people who have waited more than four months for EDD to process applications.