LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — While roughly one million California residents wait to hear from the California Employment Development Department about their unemployment benefits, dozens of claim letters are being erroneously sent to homes — including more than 100 delivered to a single home in the Inland Empire.
“Right here, all of this,” California Sen. Melissa Melendez, R-Lake Elsinore, said.
The lawmaker shared a photo on Twitter, holding what she said were 116 letters — addressed to 33 different people — from the EDD sent to a single Riverside home.
116 envelopes containing debit cards, certification forms, etc. mailed to my constituent from EDD.
Addressed to 33 different people.
None of whom ever lived at that address.
Last night we requested an audit of EDD.
The request was denied. pic.twitter.com/35HJxadVQ4
— Senator Melissa Melendez (@senatormelendez) September 1, 2020
“It all says, ‘Time sensitive material,'” she said. “This one I can feel has a debit card in it.”
Now Melendez is demanding answers.
“The problem is, the people who these are addressed to, probably need these benefits and aren’t getting them because they’re showing up to one address, which is one of my constituents,” she said. “In 48 hours, getting 116 pieces of mail from EDD is a little troubling, and we want to know what the heck is going on.”
And the house in Melendez’s district is not the only place where this is happening. Last week, CBS Los Angeles investigative reporter Kristine Lazar revealed a vacant Los Angeles home had received dozens of letters from EDD — addressed to at least half a dozen different people.
After that story ran, Lazar received a flood of email from people who were receiving similar stacks of mail.
“We were told there’s no audit needed because the governor is sending in a strike team to determine what the problem is,” Melendez said. “And, personally, I don’t have a lot of confidence in the governor’s strike team going in there and identifying the problem.
“They’ve had six months to identify the problem, and they haven’t done it, and I do think it needs an independent auditor to go in there and figure out what’s going on,” she continued. “This cannot go on for another six months.”
Even more troublesome is the fact that California is set to begin sending an extra $300 per week to millions of unemployed people beginning next week — providing even more opportunity for fraud.
“I don’t know how much longer people can hold on,” Melendez said. “We get the calls daily. People are in tears.
“The stress level is monumentally high for so many people, and this has got to get straightened out, and the governor needs to get in there and get it done.”
Anyone who receives mail from the EDD that is not addressed to them has been asked to contact their state representative or the postmaster general.