LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) – Working in the entertainment industry, Erica Chan is no stranger to periods of unemployment.
So when the pandemic hit, her friends came to her looking for answers.
“I thought well maybe I should make a Facebook group and I am sure there are other people who have knowledge who can help them,” said Chan.
Her Facebook group “Unofficial CA Employment Help” is now up to close to 30,000 members.
“I didn’t expect it to be that much, and I bit off a lot more than I thought there was to chew,” she said.
Chan soon had to bring in moderators to help like Ruddy Salazar, who reads every document he can, including the CARES Act in its entirety.
“When you post on the Facebook group, you get almost immediate responses in terms of answers,” Salazar said.
The group tackles dozens of topics from benefits exhausted to penalty weeks and ID verification, but perhaps the most commonly asked question is how to get EDD on the phone.
“The main tip that we’ve gotten that’s been successful is dialing the phone sequence 1, 3, 2, 5, 2 and then 7. And then when it asks for your social, 3 times, don’t enter anything,” said Chan. “You should hang up if you hear thank you and stay on if you hear welcome.”
She says it may still take hundreds of calls to get a live person on the line. Salazar says he answers messgage and even takes phone calls from frustrated group members for several hours a day.
But he doesn’t see it as a burden.
“It’s about connecting, it’s about helping each other and it’s about coming together as a community to overcome the obstacles that we are currently facing,” he said.
Despite the group’s popularity, Chan says she hasn’t heard from anyone at EDD, and she expects to keep the group going even after most of us get back to work.