Typo puts Woodland Hills family's unemployment claim in limbo for months

For four months, a Woodland Hills family's unemployment claim has been held up by a single-digit typo and they can't get anyone at the EDD to fix the issue.
LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- For more than four months, Liz Anderson of Woodland Hills has been trying to get answers from the state's Employment Development Department, putting the Help Line number on speed dial.

"I've called hundreds of times every day. I think one time I got up to about 700 calls," says Anderson, who was laid off from her job as a paralegal.

She got as far as learning that a typo was holding her up. A single digit in her social security number was off.

EDD's identity verification system has stranded countless others, according to the Center for Workers Rights which has been advocating for claimants.

"It's one of the major categories of claimants that are having their benefits delayed," says director Daniela Urban.

A public information representative from the EDD says the agency has hired 5,000 people to help process claims and they will have additional resources.

"We are trying to give them some new tools so that when we train them they will have a lot more information to help people when they do call," says Loree Levy with the EDD.

RELATED: EDD spokesperson answers viewer questions about California unemployment
EMBED More News Videos

With more than 4 million Californians receiving unemployment benefits during the pandemic, a state expert answered viewer questions about why it is so challenging getting information about eligibility.

Meantime, Liz Anderson and her household are struggling. Her husband is disabled by a spinal-cord disorder. His service dog needs an operation. The in-laws who have been helping them may have to sell their house if help doesn't come soon.

"It's been depressing. The anxiety has been just unbearable sometimes," says Anderson.

Advocates at the Center for Workers Rights say they are hearing from others who have it worse. The process is so daunting that people who qualify for payments have given up and have become homeless.

Advocate Daniela Urban says claimants should use EDD's UI online system to straighten out problems because efforts to reach EDD staff on the phone rarely gets results.

Anderson has also reached out to her state assembly member who will also submit her claim.
Copyright © 2021 KABC-TV. All Rights Reserved.