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Many Californians who filed for unemployment still waiting for money

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SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. (KRON) — Millions of Californians lost their jobs because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Just in the last four weeks, 2.7 people across the state filed for unemployment benefits.

Problem is many are still waiting for money and some can’t even get through to the employment development department to get help.

“It’s hard to feel like I’m gonna have to be starting all over again and its not a good position to be in this beautiful but very expensive city,” Nani Strides said.

Strides works in the San Francisco restaurant industry and lost her job mid March because of the coronavirus.

She filed an unemployment insurance claim on March 17, but still hasn’t received a single penny.

“I didn’t get any notification to certify for my benefits until the 28th which I did for the last two weeks of March and those certifications have said pending so I haven’t received any money,” she said. “I haven’t received any emails or letters in the mail and then I got an email to certify for the first two weeks of April which I thought was weird because I haven’t received any money yet so I did that and then just a few days ago, I checked my status and all four weeks my status changed to false statement penalty which makes no sense to me.”

And when she tried to get in touch with a representative for help — she couldn’t get through.

“Called the 8-12 window every day since then and there was just an automated message each time for four hours straight that just directed people to go online and then it hung up on you,” she said.

Others have voiced their same concerns and frustrations on social media.

The EDD and Governor Gavin Newsom said they’re experiencing historic demand for unemployment insurance, making it hard to process all of the requests. 

“Just in the last four weeks, 2.7 million Californians have filed for unemployment insurance,” Gov. Newsom said. “We are in the process right now dealing with an unprecedented number of phone calls into our employment development department.”

In response to the high call volumes, the EDD says they’re opening up a secondary call center line on Monday, April 20. The line will be open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., seven days a week.

“I just wanted to acknowledge that there is frustration in California over unemployment insurance benefits and the governor’s executive order today is going to allow us to open up the hours of our call center so those of you seeking a live person to talk to will be able to do that more easily.”

The EDD says they’re also increasing staff to help at the call center and assist with unemployment insurance claims.

However, Strides says more needs to be done.

“To be four weeks without any income is really hard,” she said. “I think there needs to be a lot more action.”

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