Denied A Full Month's Worth Of Benefits?
by Scott Wagar
(San Francisco, CA)
I was laid off from my job in California of almost 7 years on January 25, 2010. I applied online for Unemployment benefits on February 2, 2010 via the State of California's EDD website.
After almost a month of waiting and receiving no notification I contacted EDD to ask the status of my claim. I was told that my information was "in the system" and that I should be receiving something in the mail in "a week to 10 days".
After that period of time elapsed I called them again and was told by a person named "Gerard" that my claim was entered into their system on March 6, 2010 and that I should receive my packet in the mail "in a few days". This was on March 9, 2010.
He then said to me that it appeared to him that my information was "submitted late". I asked him what that meant and he said that when you apply for EDD benefits online "it is NOT automatic", and that your information goes into their system and THEN "has to be retrieved". He said he couldn't be sure, but it appeared to him that my information may have sat in their system for awhile before it was processed.
I asked him at that point if that would cause a problem with my benefits effective date and he say, "No, we go by your termination date..." He said that if I hadn't received my packet within the next few days to call him directly. He didn't have an extension to give me, but said I could ask for him by name when I called, "Gerard".
I received my packet in the mail the very next day, and it stated that my effect date for Unemployment Benefits was February 28, 2010. Almost a full month AFTER I applied for them.
I called back and tried to get ahold of "Gerard", and was told that there are 6 different call centers for the Unemployment Department and that there was no way for them to get me in touch with this person.
I was told that my effective date for benefits of February 28, 2010 was correct, but that if I wanted to dispute this information, I could request an adjudicator
to escalate my claim for review, which would of course postpone my receiving benefits even longer until they conducted their investigation and made the decision based on that.
I told them yes, to escalate my claim, and in the meantime they told me to fill out my form and send it in just to get my benefits claim in their system to avoid any further delays in my receiving my benefits.
I sent off my form on March 14, 2010 as instructed, and then I received notification in the mail a few days later that I would be called on March 25, 2010 by the Unemployment Department to conduct an interview related to my claim disputing my benefits start-date.
I had my phone interview this morning with an adjudicator, who informed me that their investigation was concluded, and that according the information in their system, the effective date of February 28, 2010 for my Unemployment Benefits was correct, and that at this time I have no further recourse as to collecting benefits for the entire month of February 2010 that I have been waiting for.
The adjudicator told me that my first benefit check (dating from February 28, 2010 onward) would be mailed out to me immediately, A FULL 2 MONTHS LATER.
I told the adjudicator that he could see for himself that I have only ever collected Unemployment Benefits one other time, in 2002 for 3 months, and that the job I was laid off from in January 2010 I had held for almost 7 years. I told him that I am a responsible, hard-working adult and not some deadbeat out to milk the system.
He said he understood how I felt but that at this time I had no further recourse in the matter. Basically telling me that I should just take whatever money they send me and be happy about it and now go away.
Has anyone else experienced this situation? I found an article online which talks about the problems EDD in California has had with its IT Systems, and that other people have been either shorted benefits or denied altogether due to problems with their antiquated computer systems.
I would like to hear from anyone who has had this experience.
Thanks for reading.