FRESNO, Calif. (KSEE) – Frustrations reach a boiling point for some as millions of Californians find themselves out of work due to the pandemic–many are struggling to collect unemployment.
One man KSEE24 spoke to, lost his job weeks ago says he can’t get a hold of anyone in the unemployment office.
The EDD office has been closed because of the pandemic.
But he says he has called the number given for hours on end and gets no answer. He is desperate for help.
“I’m terrified. I’m terrified because I’ve never been in this position for as long as I can remember,” said Nick Ruiz.
The 33-year-old father of two, worked in the legal field and as a private investigator was laid off March 17th. He had been working since he was 15.
He applied for unemployment through california’s employment development department’s website the very next day.
“They said I would receive something in the mail March 29th,” said Ruiz.
The date came and went. Ruiz said he has kept calling, but can never get through, and representatives are only available weekdays from 8 a.m. to noon.
“So then I began to set my alarm from seven in the morning. I was calling from 7:30 a.m. all the way to 9:30 a.m. At one day I called them 59 times,” said Ruiz.
Assemblyman Jim Patterson says stories like these are flooding his office. That’s why he wrote Governor Gavin Newsom.
“This is no way to operate an unemployment insurance operation even if there’s a large number of people filing for the applications,” said Patterson.
Patterson says the EDD system uses both dated wording as well as technology.
“We are now in this pandemic and the failure of this technology is hurting people significantly. The governor needs to know that and I’m going to continue to be a burr under his saddle,” said Patterson.
He says wait times are too long, calls are disconnected, and people are often promised a call back, which never comes.
Patterson is asking the governor to take action to streamline the process.
“I can’t sleep at night, my schedule’s all messed up, my son’s see depression on my face,” said Ruiz.
The assembly man says he has open files for hundreds of people they are trying to help.
Ruiz’s included, and will make sure he personally sees to it.
COVID-19 resource links:
- Fresno County
- Tulare County
- Madera County
- Mariposa County
- Merced County
- Kings County
- Kern County
- World Health Organization
- U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
- California Coronavirus (COVID-19) Response