LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — In the past three months, the California Employment Development Department has paid out $37.5 billion in unemployment benefits — but a number of people are still waiting to be paid, prompting a lawmaker to call for an audit of the department.

California State Assemblyman Jim Patterson (R-Fresno) has called for an audit of EDD. (Credit: CBSLA)

Rosa Castillo, who was a Lyft driver until the increasing risk and lack of rides forced her into unemployment in late March, is one of those still waiting.

“Very frustrating,” she said. “I feel like I’m at a dead end.”

Castillo is a single mom with a teenage son. She said she has applied four times for unemployment.

“So I have really nothing to survive on,” she said.

And her story is not unique — everyone who has contacted CBS Los Angeles for help getting their benefits said they cannot get anyone on the phone to talk about their claims.

“I just don’t feel like there’s anyone that’s ever going to answer,” Charmaine Tuilefano said.

Tuilefano said she has also applied for unemployment multiple times since she was laid off and still hasn’t received her benefits.

“But after waiting three weeks, then a month, then two then three then four, and still with no answer,” she said. “It’s really kind of hopeless.”

RELATED: Goldstein Investigates: EDD Worker Says Phone Agents Lack Training, Support

And phone data compiled by California State Assemblyman Jim Patterson (R-Fresno) backs up the women’s claims. Out of 1.5 million calls placed to EDD in one week of May — 600,000 of which were unique calls — only 150,000 people were able to speak with a person at EDD.

“And that boils down to a 25% answer rate which is absolutely unacceptable,” Patterson said.

In June, Patterson called for an audit of the department in a sternly-written letter.

“We need to do two things at the same time,” he said. “We need to get the attention of EDD to clean up their act now, but we also are going to have to get the auditors involved so that we can fix the longterm problems.”

Patterson said that a 2011 audit of EDD found that the department “failed to meet acceptable performance levels.”

“From 2011 to this very day, the EDD is still ‘planning’ to get their technology is order.”

The EDD said in a statement that representatives were working seven days per week to expand the department’s capacity to process claims and was hiring 4,000 additional representatives. The department also said it was enhancing its technology.

CBS Los Angeles also asked the department to look into claims filed by Castillo and Tuilefano.

Comments (4)
  1. Greg Seals says:

    My name is Greg Seals and I’ve been a Physical Therapist for thirty years. I’m 67 years old and specialize in Geriatrics, which means I frequent Elder Care Facilities such a Board and Cares and Retirement Homes. Due to Covid-19 I’m not able to work since my Interstitial Lung Disease, which has taken half my lung capacity and made me oxygen dependent, in addition to Asthma and Rheumatoid Arthritis have made me high-risk.
    While I appreciate how overwhelmed the EDD must be at this difficult time, I have not received response or money from them for the PUA Pandemic Unemployment Assistance for those of us who are self-employed since originally receiving an initial $900.00 back on April 16, 2020
    Fifteen weeks without work. I have a mortgage to pay, medical bills to pay… I need help as soon as possible to receive the funds so I can sleep at night. I call the EDD every single day. There is no one who can address this problem. The system is automated and does not allow you to leave a message. The one person with whom I was able to speak was sympathetic, but only gave me a phone number of an automated system. I do leave multiple messages on the EDD website and have been doing so since the beginning when there were no payments coming in, but I have yet to receive any reply from the them.
    I appreciate how overwhelmed they must be, but I need assistance now. My EDD customer account number is 3902536578.

    Date of birth 09/23/1952. Any help you are able to provide in this matter will be appreciated beyond measure!!!!
    Thank you for your time.
    Sincerely

    Greg Seals (714) 553-3889

    gregd131@yahoo.com.

    1100 Bernice Drive, Brea CA, 92821

  2. Sharon Hencel says:

    My name is Sharon Hencel, I have been out of work since March, due to pandemic. I have been working at Knott’s Berry Farm for 43 years. I have been waiting for my unemployment insurance payments for about 3 1/2 months now, have made several calls and still nothing I am a server we all wor part time hours, we were told we did not need to look for work elsewhere because we will be going back as soon as we reopen, besides I am almost 61 years old. I just received an email saying I needed to seek full time work. I work in a restaurant and we don’t even get full time work.They owe me from March 19th to current and still have not seen a penny. When we open back up I will be going back to work. Have a year and a half until I retire could really use the money.

  3. Dilan says:

    A little tip for anyone’s who’s tired of listening to the EDD’s recorded prompts. The digits may vary depending on what you’re trying to accomplish, but if you have an existing claim that you have questions about you can use this number (adding in your social of course):

    1 (800) 300-5616,1,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,673,social,,1

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