MISSION VIEJO (CBSLA) — The Quiroz family was, as they describe it, living the American dream before the COVID-19 pandemic hit.
Both Brittany and John worked full time, and they were able to purchase a condo in Mission Viejo for their two kids to grow up in. Then coronavirus made its way to the United States, and Brittany lost her job as an administrative assistant for a mortgage company.
Brittany said she filed for unemployment within hours of receiving the news she’d been laid off. Within days, Brittany got two letters in the mail from EDD: one telling her that her claim was filed and the other giving her the weekly benefit amount.
“Since then, there has been crickets,” she said.
To date Brittany hasn’t received a dime in unemployment. She’s owed about $13,000 in backpay if her claim is approved.
“I feel like I am in a state of limbo,” she said. “Honestly, I told my husband the other day I feel like I’m just never going to get it.”
John, an electrician, has picked up overtime shifts at work to make ends meet.
“I am very grateful that I have guys that I work with who are giving up their standby pay for me, otherwise we would be sunk,” he said. “If something doesn’t happen within the next month, our savings will be gone.”
Brittany also has Multiple Sclerosis, which means the pandemic and her family’s financial struggles are weighing heavily on her.
“Stress is like kryptonite for MS,” she said.
This family’s struggle is not unique. Every week, CBS2/KCAL9 investigative reporter Kristine Lazar receives several emails from people desperate to receive their unemployment benefits. Each time, EDD tells the station the same thing: that most of their questions can be answered on the EDD website, or they just have to keep calling.
“I have tried calling every single day,” Brittany said.
She tells CBS2/KCAL9 that she has never been able to get someone on the phone with EDD, and she still doesn’t know why her claim hasn’t been paid.
“It’s not even just a month,” she said. “We are going on for months now. Somethings not right. Something doesn’t add up, and something needs to change.”
After Kristine Lazar reached out to EDD about Brittany’s claim, someone from the office called her within hours and told her that her claim had been approved and she will begin receiving payments soon.