SAN FRANCISCO - Despite already being overwhelmed by the pandemic and the recession, the EDD is offering assistance to people made jobless by the wildfires. That's ruffling the feather of those who've waiting months on end for their checks. Many people don't know Disaster Unemployment Assistance even exists, but it has for generations.
The EDD continues to be overwhelmed. So, that means many unhappy state unemployment insurance and Federal Pandemic relief seekers.
Though California has about 11% of the nation's total workforce the Golden State is sliding into the economic abyss.
“We have over 28% of all the UI claims and an astonishing over 50% of all the Pandemic Unemployment assistance claims in the nation. No significant increases in job board listings and no significant increases in new hiring,” said Labor Lawyer and Former EDD Director Michael Bernick of the Duane Morris Law Firm.
Yesterday, on the EDD's Twitter feed, it posted that those whose jobs were affected by wildfires can apply for state disaster unemployment assistance.
“Whenever there have been natural disasters in California over the past 40 years, EDD has a system of disaster relief,” said Mr. Bernick.
There were angry responses from those still waiting and waiting and waiting for their state and Federal COVID aid.
Randy tweeted, "You can’t pay COVID victims, how do you expect to pay these people?" Aisha wrote, "Where is my $300 payment? You people think we don't need this money?” Rosie tweeted about the new Federal supplement, "Has anybody received the extra $900?"
Broke, busted, disgusted; many applicants are now working catch as catch can, hand to mouth, since applying. “I filed back in March and something happened. I never received anything. So a couple months in, I started calling them and it took forever to get a hold of them,” said food server Daynice Desimone.
Waiter JR Russell waited three months for EDD, meanwhile surviving on food stamps and an eviction prohibition. “It drained completely my savings that I had. It actually put my checking account in to the negative by about probably seven or eight hundred dollars. I had $40 cash on hand to last until the unknown date of when I was going to get paid."
Mr. Bernick says, despite EDD's massive staff hiring and technology upgrades, the claims backlog will likely remain until California reopens its economy or a vaccine or effective medicines come to be. “The numbers: they keep going up. Between the PUA claims and the and the regular UI claims, we had another 600,000,” said Bernick.
Public sectors employees, state and local governments as well as education, are now on the chopping block with no Federal relief in sight.