EDD representative answers most commonly asked questions about unemployment benefits

Rob McMillan Image
Tuesday, July 20, 2021
Redlands market struggling to find workers
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More than a year into the pandemic, EDD is still overwhelmed with people applying for unemployment benefits. Meanwhile, a market in Redlands says they can't find people who want a job.

Though more jobs are opening up, millions of Californians are still receiving unemployment benefits -- and still facing challenges with getting their EDD questions and concerns answered.

Eyewitness News spoke with Lorree Levy, Deputy Director of Public Affairs with the Employment Development Department, to answer some commonly asked questions.

When asked why it's so hard for many people to simply have a question answered, Levy says the department continues to experience a high volume of work.

"Imagine this flood of work that came in the beginning of the pandemic. That flood continues through the system, including when people come up at the end of their benefit year and that requires a whole other amount of work where we're trying to determine whether or not someone has enough in earnings to establish a new claim or return to some federal extension benefits."

"The workload continues to be at extremely high record-setting volume," she added.

Many of the questions people have, Levy says, often can be answered on the EDD's website. She recommends people take advantage of the website before reaching out by phone.

"We're doing everything we can to get people information and help people self-serve wherever possible, therefore those who really have more of the complex questions have an easier time getting to talk to our representatives on the phone," Levy said.

Watch the video in the media player above for more on EDD's reinstated rule that people must look for work to get jobless aid and more.

EDD says people must look for work to get jobless aid. So, what qualifies as looking for a job?

At Gerrards Market in Redlands, owner Tom Reingrover says there are still more jobs available than there are people actually looking for them.

"People can literally make more money staying at home than what they can working," he said.

Reingrover says instead of having four or five registers open at any given time, it's only about half that.

Throughout the store, a lot of workers are making extra overtime because there aren't enough of them to serve customers.

The store's owner is hoping that more people will apply when some of the government benefits dry up.

"I understand that September the 6th is when federal money is supposed to stop, so I'm hoping that by that date things will start looking up a little bit," Reingrover said.