SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — More than a million people are in the process of filing for unemployment in California right now. Many of them are filing for the first time.

As if that wasn’t nerve-wracking enough, CBS13 has learned of printing errors on some letters from the Employment Development Department (EDD) that are causing confusion and undue stress – and potentially compromising people identities.

“I have a hard time believing it just happened to me and my co-worker,” said Eric, who asked that we not use his last name. “I would not be surprised if it’s happening to everybody.”

After filling out the online application for unemployment benefits from the state, Eric and his coworker both got letters in the mail notifying them of  phone appointments with the EDD.

READ: Coronavirus: How Much Could You Get On Unemployment?

“An EDD rep will call you at the following number,” Eric said, reading the letter out loud. “And there’s a number listed and it’s not your number!”

The letter specifies that the agency will call you, and it lists the number at which it plans to call you. But neither of the numbers listed on either of the men’s letters was their own. Neither number was even close to their actual phone numbers. When we called the phone numbers listed on the letters, both were disconnected.

“Then you’re just left thinking, ‘Are they going to call that number and not get ahold of me and deny my claim?'” Eric said.

The letter does say that you can update your number by calling the EDD or logging in online. However, Eric said calling only led to an endless phone tree. He never got in touch with a human being.

Both men also tried to update their information online. However, in order to log in, you need a customer ID number which neither had received yet.

ALSO: Coronavirus: Unemployment Help for the Self-Employed

While Eric is still waiting for his scheduled call, he says his friend did eventually get a call from the EDD on his actual number. However, when he told the representative about the printing errors, “she just kinda giggled,” Eric said.

As of Monday afternoon, EDD representatives told CBS13 that the agency was unaware of any printing errors.

As a result, it is unclear how many people might be affected by the errors or if this could cause further delays in processing the more than one million unemployment applications that the agency has received over the past two weeks.

It’s also worth noting that the men’s full Social Security Numbers (SSN) are printed on these letters. Printing SSNs on mailed documents is illegal in California.

READ: Audit: EDD Put Millions At Risk Of Identity Theft

We’ll keep following up on the misprints, but in the meantime, anyone who has filed for unemployment should to check their mail early and often. Letters with full SSNs, like those coming from the EDD, are known targets for mail and identity thieves.

UPDATE: 4/2/20: EDD sent the following response via email:

“(EDD is) prevented by confidentiality laws of discussing this individual’s personal contact information.  This situation does not represent any issue beyond what is specific to this person.”

EDD did not respond to CBS13’s further request for clarification as we have received similar EDD documents indicating that this has happened to more than one person.

 

UPDATE: 4/3/20 Eric reported the following to CBS13: 

“My scheduled phone call (April 3rd 3:00-5:00pm) did not happen. That same day I received another letter that had my Customer ID Number. It included my award notice which stated my weekly benefit was zero which was based on my quarterly income all showing I had zero income. This is totally wrong I worked all of that time (which was asked and answered in my original application).”

CBS 13 has received similar complaints from multiple people. Several people said they they received a call from the EDD at their appointed time, but the call was disconnected and they say they did not get a call back. Several people have also provided us copies of their benefit denials, like this one, which they claim erroneously state that they had “0 income” in the previous 4 quarters.


Follow our continuing coverage as CBS13 works to get answers to your Coronavirus Unemployment Questions: 

CBS13 Investigates: Coronavirus Unemployment

 

Julie Watts

Comments (7)
  1. mark lawrence says:

    I am curious as to why a EDD Acct # is even needed. I filed for Unemployment and I can’t see anything about my Account until a letter comes with this EDD Acct #.Why not assign it when you apply,so that you can at least find out where you stand. The Phone lines are manned from 8-noon Mon-Friday. Hardly enough time to Handle all the incoming calls. And How,When and where will the $600 a week be included or in Separate checks?? Why not have a daily update on the EDD Coronavirus website that has not been updated in 9 days???? I realize You have been hit with a huge uptick in claims,but EDD remaining silent does not ease the Concerns.

  2. Arthur says:

    the EDD actually misprinted my social security number (they probably typed in someone else’s)
    i’m not even sure how i can make this correction. They also put $0 on my standard pay period, but I have worked and specified that when i filled out my application online. It is next to impossible to call, they haven’t provided me with a customer account number so i can make changes online, and according to the envelope they provided to me they don’t want you sending additional notes. The latter seems to be the only shot i got so I’m going to try that.

    It is absolutely ludicrous how they run things. The federal and state government is so dysfunctional.

  3. Isela says:

    I also received an award letter with zeros when I’ve been working my entire life! Another thing I recently noticed is that my award letter has the wrong social security number! I haven’t been able to get through to have this fix. It is so frustrating!

  4. Bob Watson says:

    Someone needs to grab the EDD by the jewels and don’t let go until this is resolved I also got a awards letter with the wrong ssn# a 0 income. Been calling no luck, sent letters no luck, sent emails no luck, Filed for unemployment latter part of March received awards letter about
    4/12/20 Started the phone next day gave that up after 5 days straight calling at 8am each morn
    only to be told that they have have met their capacity How can that be in 5 seconds. Have send letters and sent 5 emails thur my EDD account with understanding that they would respond in 5-7 days as of today it’s been 17 days nothing. We need a hero for the common person, bakers,
    construction workers, labors, barbers, etc to step up and get to the bottom of this. Hope CBS 13
    will be that hero

  5. Melanie says:

    Definitely contact your local Assemblyman/Assemblywoman or other local government official! That is what they are there to do- help! I FINALLY got a response from EDD after contacting my local official.

  6. Sarah says:

    The EDD sent me my forms with another person’s name entirely, but my full SSN…

  7. Richard says:

    I submitted a EDD claim 8 weeks ago and the initial claim began March 23, 2020. I received the paperwork and answer the corresponding weeks that I was not able to work because of the cover-19. Today’s date is July 18, 2020 in hopes to receive some kinda of notice went to the mailbox and no paperwork or information from the EDD has been mailed to me. I decided to look at the letter of Assistance Award and realized that the corresponding SSN on my paper is not mine. I am anxious and cannot wait patiently until Monday at 8:00 when the EDD office opens to fix this error and receive the compensation that has been awarded. As of Monday the 13th once more we are not able to work in Riverside Co. California

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