Californians receiving unemployment insurance coverage advantages will not must certify each two weeks that they’re nonetheless eligible for advantages, below a brief directive issued by California Labor Secretary Julie Su.
“Over the last two days, the benefits system has slowed significantly due to the strain of so many claims, keeping Californians from accessing UI Online to file new claims and to certify for payments. This has threatened the ability of people to apply for benefits and our ability to pay benefits,” Su mentioned in an announcement Thursday night.
In a press convention broadcast Friday on Fb, she mentioned, “I know this sounds crazy, because we’re in California, we’re the tech capital of the world, but our system is built on multiple antiquated systems,” so it’s rigid and laborious to implement modifications.
Su despatched a memo to Employment Improvement Division Director Sharon Hilliard directing the division to droop unemployment certifications for weeks ending March 14 by means of Might 9. That covers “the most significant period of unemployment to date,” Su mentioned Friday.
The transfer comes as California prepares to start out taking functions Tuesday for Pandemic Unemployment Help, a brand new federally funded program for self-employed and different people who find themselves not eligible for normal state unemployment advantages.
Some self-employed individuals have already filed for normal unemployment advantages and have been desperately looking for out if they should reapply for pandemic advantages. On Friday, Su mentioned, “It is looking more and more like you will reapply” beginning Tuesday and won’t have to withdraw the earlier utility.
Crystal Web page, a spokeswoman for Su, mentioned the suspension of certification is partly to release sources to take care of these candidates in addition to these receiving common unemployment advantages.
The state’s unemployment system has been straining below the burden of mounting job losses on account of the coronavirus. For the week ending April 18, the state acquired 533,568 unemployment claims, in comparison with 44,729 roughly the identical time final 12 months. It was the third consecutive week of decrease losses, nonetheless. The final week of March, greater than 1 million Californians filed for unemployment.
Su mentioned this “temporary emergency flexibility” is in keeping with a state regulation (UIC part 1326.5) that claims EDD can excuse a claimant’s failure to strictly adjust to the certification requirement for “good cause.”
To proceed receiving advantages, unemployed individuals usually certify on-line by answering questions on whether or not they labored, seemed for work and had been out there for work in the course of the previous two weeks. The suspension “will help reduce the unprecedented server load on the UI Online system that created some intermittent access to some users,” Su mentioned.
An earlier model of this story gave the incorrect quantity for a staffed EDD cellphone line. It’s 800-300-5616.
The EDD has posted a discover explaining the non permanent suspension on its web site. It’ll proceed issuing common funds throughout this era. Nevertheless, individuals receiving advantages should “notify the EDD immediately if they return to work during this time period.”
On April 15, Gov. Gavin Newsom introduced that EDD would launch a name middle “that will operate 7 days a week from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. The Unemployment Insurance Branch will be upstaffed with 1,340 employees, including 740 EDD employees and 600 employees from across state government.”
The brand new cellphone quantity, 833-978-2511, went dwell Monday. Nevertheless, many callers acquired solely a recording that began with: “The following is an informational message. At the end of the message the phone will hang up.”
Web page mentioned EDD continues to be staffing up that cellphone line. “We have had several different versions of a voicemail. One said call back later. People were frustrated (when they heard that) so we modified it,” she mentioned.
Su mentioned that line is staffed with service reps who can reply basic questions however is not going to have entry to the caller’s declare or cost info.
For that they might want to name 800-300-5616, which is staffed with representatives on weekdays from eight a.m. till midday. The division additionally has an “automated self-service line, 866-333-4606,” which is all the time out there.
Kathleen Pender is a San Francisco Chronicle columnist. E mail: email@example.com Twitter: @kathpender