SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Hundreds of thousands of Californians are being told to continue to wait despite months of having their unemployment issues unresolved. Now, lawmakers are stepping in to get answers from the Employment Development Department (EDD).
Greg Jablonski has been waiting and waiting for answers.
“September 11, I got a notice from EDD saying I needed to verify my identity," Jablonski explained. "And the same day within a matter of hours I had uploaded documents.”
He went all out and sent his driver's license, W2's, and because Jablonski’s a veteran, his military ID for good measure. At first, he was told it would be resolved in seven to 10 days. Then he was told he’d have to wait until after the EDD reset which happened end of September.
When the reset had passed, Jablonski said he still couldn’t get a clear answer.
“Essentially if you call, time and time again, you ask 10 different people, you’re going to get 10 different answers," Jablonski said. “The last time I was issued a payment was on August 24.”
He says, just recently, he was able to get a specialist on the phone who said EDD could start sending him paper checks, but she couldn’t tell him when that would start.
“I said, 'Well, what about the money that was on my debit card?' and she said, 'That’s something you’ll have to reach out to Bank of America,'” Jablonski said.
He said Bank of America, however, has not provided a resolution.
“When I contact Bank of America, the practically treat me like I’m a criminal," Jablonski said. "They won’t release any information to me. They say I have to contact EDD."
This runaround is something many people have told ABC10 they have experienced.
ABC10 reached out to Bank of America to find the extent of the problem and asked how many EDD debit card accounts Bank of America has frozen.
A representative responding, saying:
"EDD and Bank of America are working closely together to fight fraud. Freezing accounts that are suspected of fraudulent activity is part of that effort. Please visit EDD’s newsroom for the latest specifics on unemployment fraud."
ABC10 could not find specific information on how many accounts were frozen. Yet, according to EDD’s own unemployment claims backlog dashboard, as of the last update on Nov. 4, EDD still has 594,259 people who have received at least one payment and have now been waiting more than 21 days for processing of further payment or disqualification.
Assemblymember Rudy Salas, chair of the Joint Legislative Committee, said a state audit of EDD is underway.
"I think what's happening over at EDD is very frustrating for your elected officials but definitely for those Californians that really need help. And more needs to be done," Salas said. "We're going to hold them accountable. That's why we've called for an independent state audit to go in and look at not only what the issues are, but how do we fix these? Because we know Californians are hurting and we need to fix these problems now."
He said he also has a message for Greg and people in similar situations.
"You know, first I'd like to thank Greg for his service. You know I would tell people like Greg, who are frustrated with the system and can't seem to get anywhere, to contact our offices. Contact my office, contact your local Assemblymember or Senator and let them know. Cause we can cut through some of that red tape for you and help resolve those cases," Salas said.
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