LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — California has paid out more than $16 billion in unemployment benefits, but some people are still waiting on their money.

Mike Hardy of San Pedro took matters into his own hands to finally receive his benefits, including emailing the Labor Secretary.

One morning, in a two-hour period, Hardy said he called the Employment Development Department nearly 400 times and has the screenshots to prove it.

“I bet you I made between 15 and 20 thousand phone calls the past month. I would call 600 to 700 times a day to no avail,” he said.

Hardy worked for Goodwill before the safer-at-home order went into effect. In March, as soon as he was laid off, he applied for unemployment.

“It just kept saying pending and every other week, I would go in and certify for the weeks but it would still show up pending,” Hardy said.

As days turned to weeks without any benefits, Hardy started to run out of money. He said he finally got someone from EDD to pick up and he explained how dire his situation was.

“You know I can’t buy food, I can’t buy my medication and I can’t pay my bills and he said, ‘Sir, that’s not our problem. You need to learn to manage your money and you wouldn’t be in this situation and he hung up on me,'” Hardy said.

Defeated, Hardy emailed the Governor, his local lawmakers, and Labor Secretary Julie Su.

To his surprise, Su emailed him back. She apologized and promised, “I will make sure EDD gets back to you on your claim,” she said.

Two days later, a representative from EDD called Hardy.

“It was like angels in my ears, it was a sigh of relief,” he said.

The same day, he got the call from EDD, Hardy went from pending to paid.

“I could finally tell my landlord when I am going to pay my rent,” he said.

Hardy is grateful to Su but isn’t quieting down. He wants EDD to hire more people, and have them be better trained.

“We need a better system, what we have now is failing,” Hardy said. “It’s not getting what needs to be done. People that need the help are not getting help.”

Su’s office released a statement saying that she and her team are working to find solutions and fix the problems at EDD.

Comments (23)
  1. Susanne Davis-Coleman says:

    I have been in “pending” limbo since March and I’ve tried calling, emailing, complaint letters, and going to EDD One Stop office. HELP! I’ll try emailing Labor Secretary next!

  2. Anouk Anouk says:

    Yep. What’s the point of having all these phone numbers and no one picking them up??? Been calling from three different lines all day long! People are on the verge of being homeless! They send you letters that are dated two days into the future! Maybe they’re doing a little time travel at the EDD. Anyway, this is ridiculous that they’re unable to hire enough people to answer the phone, when people are actually looking for job. Just fire that RUDE incompetent worker (from the article) who picked up the phone and hire people who actually CARE! Why is it so hard?

  3. Reena Saiz says:

    I have been pending since Feb and can not get anyone to help me.

  4. I lost my job due to the shutdown. I have received nothing to date, I have been bounced around the EDD and CALFRESH and Medi-CAL systems because my previous employer didn’t file taxes for years and mislabeled me…I went through audit and audit ruled in my favor for max benefits, but still nothing. I am going to lose my car in July, I am currently losing my home. When I read that the majority of people’s claims have been satisfied, I know it isn’t true. Many industry associates are having similar problems. No one knows what to do, and in a couple months when the banks and loan companies require payments resume, what is going to happen to us? This is terrible and I don’t feel the people who are struggling to receive benefits are properly represented. You need to do better at helping us.

  5. V says:

    This is the ‘normal’ story, I’ve been calling, emailing, writing, faxing thousands of times with no answer, reply or correction. California Unemployment is absolutely NOT operational letting down every Californian, it’s tragic. We don’t need letters, updates, delays, or smoke & mirrors; we need the money the Federal Government provided to California for “the people” TODAY!!!

  6. Skye Dent says:

    Ditto all of the above. One can never get through on the phones. For the office in Englewood, 1-800-300-5616, the recording says to call back at 8, which is when the new extended hours were supposed to begin. 8 to 8, Sunday thru Saturday. But, when you call after 8 a.m., the recording says the office is closed. If you try to write something on line, you get an automatic return message saying that an EDD contact will respond within 4 to 5 days. I’ve done that five times and no one has contacted me. Sometimes, I get an e-mail that indicates that the EDD recipient doesn’t understand basic English and does not respond to the simplest of questions. I finally obtained the basic weekly amount, but not the PAC (Pandemic Additional Compensation) of $600 per week that one is entitled to if one lost their job due to Covid-19. I’m a teacher. It was reported in all news media that Governor Newsom shut down the public school system on March 15th. The school district I work for said nothing to us until after a local newspaper interviewed me and others, and called the school district. And when I applied, I made it clear that I was laid off due to Covid-19. Last week, I applied for and received a tentative offer to work for EDD temporarily to help with the backlog of claims. Training is to start next week. As someone who was a journalist for over a decade, I’m pretty sure that I can do a better job responding to e-mails and calls that was provided to me. Unless EDD reads this e-mail, gets mad, and fires me before I start. (smile) Maybe they already have. I was supposed to certify starting May 24 for the last two weeks. But, the system will not let me in. Vote Mario Cuomo for President.

  7. JD says:

    Beyond ridiculous. Please help us!! We are hardly surviving…

  8. SKD says:

    I think EDD must have read this column. They finally contacted me today, to tell me that my weekly benefit was sliced in half. And still no response to my questions about why they have not given me the extra $600 Pandemic amount that everyone else I know is getting. I try to exercise every day because I worry that the stress caused by EDD alone will hurt my heart. But, I know I’m fortunate because Little Ryan, the two year old who lives next door with his parents, makes me smile whenever I see him. And when I don’t get the chance to see him, I can always hear his laughing as he and his parents pass my window.

    1. Benjamin Aragon says:

      Hey SKD, are you working for EDD now? Can you or a coworker please take a look at my pending status for Benjamin G Aragon?

      1. SKD says:

        No, the week before we were to start working, they said they would send us the address in Inglewood. But, they never did and would not return calls. I call the number every few weeks, but no one calls back.

  9. mark says:

    does anyone have the direct email the gentleman in San Pedro used for Julie Su ?

  10. John says:

    I have had the exact same problem. I filed on 4-17-20 and have received 1 cent. I have called hundreds of times and if i am lucky to get through i will be disconnected after about 6 minutes with a recording saying too many people are on the line, please call back later. I would like Julie Su’s email as well, maybe she can help me also. money running out, mortgage, bills, family to feed etc…

  11. Dee says:

    I learned our local senator’s office has a constituent authorization form that can be filled out to request help with state issues such as filing for unemployment. Doing this resulted in EDD calling me twice. Once to tell me I was ineligible for UI due to being out on disability in 2019. Another time to confirm I was eligible for PUA benefits since I was recently laid off a new job due to coronavirus. On the UI onlline portal, I received a notice that my earnings in the first week I became unemployed disqualified me for benefits for that week. I’ve received no new notices or phone calls about when benefits for the weeks I am eligible for will be paid. The senator’s office says calling EDD is fastest way to resolve claims that are typically processed in 3 weeks. There are reports of claims being processed in a matter of days. I have been unemployed for months and have called EDD 100 times today alone. No one answered. Not even on the 3 times I made through the queue to the recording that said I was being transferred to a representative. I need money now.

  12. ECB says:

    I have been waiting for 8 weeks! I have not been paid 1 cent. They continue to ignore my emails and the specialists can’t even help me!! This is ridiculous and absolutely unacceptable!! I paid into the system often working 2-3 jobs at one time! The government has no problem collecting my tax dollars but has a big problem when I need help in unemployment benefits! They are crooked, incompetent and fail to manage our tax dollars appropriately!

  13. Billy Walls says:

    Same here, what the heck does “Pending” mean !! Please help! I filed at the end of April and have not got any help from unemployment. I have sent multiple questions through the EDD portal along with spending hours trying to get through to a live person that might answer my question, but to no avail, Im still have not got a response. PLEASE HELP!

  14. md1016 says:

    I too cannot get ahold of anyone at EDD to help me. I filed my claim on 5/1 and nowhere in the system does it reflect that. I continue to file each week but nothing reflects that. I’ve been calling their number nonstop for a month and no one will ever answer the phone. They brag on the recording that they’ve increased their hours-but all that means to me is that they don’t answer the phone for 9 hours as opposed to not answering the phone for 4 hours.

  15. md1016 says:

    This needs to be a way bigger story because so many people are affected. I’m happy this gentleman got help but the bigger story is the complete failure of the system and no one being held accountable. It’s May for crying out loud and this has been going on for over 2 months now-where is the accountability? Where is the apology? Where is the investigation? Something is wrong and we deserve to know what.

  16. lbsocal says:

    i received payments until may 21, 2020 and now I am stuck in pending hell. No idea why I am in pending or when it will be resolved. Single mom of four kids here and very worried that I won’t be able to hang on much longer!

  17. MD says:

    California, under the “leadership” of pathetic empty suit comrade Newsom, wasted BILLIONS of dollars on a “high speed train” to nowhere to enrich their contractor and consultant friends. However, they failed to upgrade the ancient computers and systems at EDD. Hundreds of thousands of people are waiting in “pending” status or worse, can’t get answers to basic questions, or get mistakes fixed. They are NOT getting their unemployment benefits as required by law. California citizens, as a whole, are so STUPID that they will vote the same losers back into office.

  18. RL Richard Learman says:

    LIke others, I received payments untll 3 weeks ago. Since then, I have gone through the usual channels but everything is sitting in pending. You would think unless someone needs to review your job search activity in those weeks where they ask you for details , if you answered everything that supports receiving a payment it would be automatic. What is going on!!!!?

  19. Jorge Guzman says:

    Im down to my last $200 in savings and overdue of $3,000 rent My landlord says that as soon as the moratorium on rent is over, he is headed to court for eviction; oh well that rent I owe would go up to $10,000 when he serves me the court notice of eviction. I gave up calling EDD.

  20. orlando lopez says:

    Cause and effect. Follow blindly a dictator, Trump, and you will get chaos in society. Thats what he wants. his ineptitude to apprehend this (any) disease is appalling (to put it mildly). His soulless persona is evil. Red and blue states are all caught in this increase crises, but keep golfing more often that the previous all 4 previous president combined. He keeps firing all does who would not do his evil acts, most of the federal agencies and offices are up now unfilled, but the media does not report that. He just padrone Roger Stone, who lie to congress, a federal crime. Cause and effect,.. baby.

  21. EA Everett says:

    I filed the first week of April. It is now Aug 16th and I have not been paid. Thousands of calls, emails. Everyone has something different to say as to why I have not been paid. I am desperate for someone to help me. I can’t pay my rent, my bills and I will lose my car next. There is something very bad going on in this state. I honestly think Gavin Newsom is using the money for other things and/or doesn’t have the money. Whey else would this be happening?

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