Californians affected by pandemic unemployment frustrated by EDD backlog

One unemployed man told ABC7 that he was on the phone with EDD for an hour and a half before being disconnected.
LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- The Employment Development Department is currently trying to catch up from a backlog of hundreds of thousands of claims and an influx of fraudulent claims. The problems were so severe that EDD stopped accepting new claims for two weeks, set up new security protocols to streamline the application process and assigned a task force to investigate fraud.

Mike Grabowski is an employee in the airline industry who is currently unemployed, like many in his industry. During an ABC7 livestream to answer questions about unemployment, he said he has had trouble getting help from anyone at EDD.

"I was on the phone for almost an hour and a half, I was just trying to get some kind of information. I spoke to two different people. The first time, I was disconnected, so I had to call back. I didn't get a straight answer from anybody," he said.

Michelle Evermore from the National Employment Law Project said that the changes in the system are necessary to make improvements.

"If the state didn't do something quick, if the state didn't do something new, they would continue to fall further and further behind every week, so they had to just stop everything and implement new procedures," she said.

Questions about unemployment benefits or EDD? Expert answers your questions
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Michele Evermore, an expert with the National Employment Law Project, answers questions from the public about getting unemployment benefits through California's EDD.

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