SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — People searching for help with unemployment benefits are finding it nearly impossible to talk to an actual employee over the phone.
New numbers from the Los Angeles Times show up to 90 percent of daily callers seeking help from the Employment Development Department aren’t able to get ahold of a real person.
Shelley Faris wants to work, but after being laid off in November, she says she had to file for state unemployment benefits.
“Right now I have to depend on it,” she said. “Not that I want to, but I have to.”
Faris says after she didn’t hear about her application for a few weeks, she tried calling EDD to get an update. Each time, she says, she was eventually hung up on before reaching an actual person.
“You get switched over to a different line, then it ends up telling you that queue is more or less full, and it ends up disconnecting you,” she said.
EDD spokeswoman Loree Levy blames the federal government, saying funding cuts since 2012 have put telephone workers in charge of additional tasks.
“The EDD has long been concerned with the significant impacts caused by federal underfunding that leaves us understaffed,” she said.
She says they’re doing everything they can, but insist callers can get help by turning to its website.
Faris did eventually start receiving her benefits, but it only makes a stressful time worse.
“Their system is broken,” she said. “Their system should function a lot better, you would think, for being the state of California.”