SACRAMENTO, Calif. — The Dollars and Sense team has heard from countless individuals struggling to access their California unemployment benefits operated by the state's Economic Development Department (EDD). Between fraud, tech issues, and frozen debit cards, the continuous issues within the agency have left thousands desperate for assistance.
While our team works to find you answers, here are some other resources for you to turn to for help.
Contact your local lawmaker
If you are still waiting to receive your unemployment benefits, you might be able to get help from your assembly member or senator. They have caseworkers than can people with their EDD claims.
"We have the same kind of opportunities that every member of the California legislature gets with an election, which is a direct link with those at EDD who can make those decisions," Assemblyman Jim Patterson, R-Fresno, told ABC10. "So, when we go to work with our constituents we go directly to EDD."
While local lawmakers recommend contacting their offices, they are getting pretty backed up as well. In February, Patterson said all seven of his staffers are working on EDD cases.
Try reaching out to your district representative through phone and email. You can find your local representative here.
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YouTuber Ginny Silver
As a self-employed wedding photographer, Ginny Silver’s business was impacted by COVID-19. Silver posted a YouTube video last April walking people through how to fill out the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) application.
Since then, Silver continued to post tips on how to navigate EDD programs and update viewers on unemployment developments.
“More and more claimants just continued to reach out, traditional unemployed claimants in addition to PUA," explained Silver. "So I just kind of kept creating the content because there was such a need."
You can access her YouTube channel here.
Facebook group, California Unemployment EDD Problems And Solutions, was created in March last year as an unofficial self-help group to help turn to others going through similar EDD issues.
The group now has more than 18,000 members and continues to help people navigate changes with the agency.
Center for Workers’ Rights
The Center for Workers’ Rights might be able to help Sacramentans experiencing EDD issues.
Daniela Urban, the executive director of the Center for Workers Rights has been working on Unemployment Insurance cases since the nonprofit organization was founded in 2014.
“Because we do have years of experience dealing with unemployment, we’re able to answer those questions and really provide direct assistance that really EDD should be providing but don’t have the capacity to do now,” said Urban.
Urban has helped thousands of people through the appeals process.
To reach the Center for Workers’ Rights helpline, the public can call (916) 905-1625.
California’s EDD Reddit
California’s Employment Development Department is an unofficial subreddit page. While not monitored by EDD employees, it is a community resource for those experiencing similar unemployment concerns.
The page has roughly 6,000 members with new posts daily from claimants sharing their struggles or success stories.
As these are unofficial EDD support groups, be careful sharing personal information. The Social Security Administration says, "You should be careful about sharing your [social security] number, even when you’re asked for it. You should ask why your number is needed, how it’ll be used, and what will happen if you refuse."
Visit the EDD Website.
If you do not have access to a computer, you can reopen a claim by phone. Representatives for the EDD are available seven days a week from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.
- English and Spanish 1-800-300-5616
- Cantonese 1-800-547-3506
- Mandarin 1-866-303-0706
- Vietnamese 1-800-547-2058
- TTY 1-800-815-9387
For the latest EDD updates, follow www.abc10.com/money.