Updated: A lot of people have been stumbling across this post after becoming frustrated with the California EDD. Scroll down to read the comments for some help, and my tip about emailing the EDD.
Back in August, I was laid off from my job as a geologist for an environmental consulting firm here in the San Francisco Bay Area (1, 2). Fortunately, I was able to receive unemployment benefits that lasted roughly 6 months. Unfortunately, there were no permanent jobs to be acquired during that time. I was able to take on some side projects shooting photos for UCSF and running some events for Photojojo.
However, my unemployment finally ran out at the end of February. The Employment Development Department (EDD) let me know that I could go ahead and reapply for benefits online.
And that’s where the trouble began.
Due to a dating problem with the last unemployment check, I received a form that said my benefits were not exhausted and therefore my extension wasn’t granted. What? My last check said my benefits *were* exhausted and I should reapply!
Anyway, you can’t call the EDD because their phone lines are swamped. So I reapplied online and was finally granted an extension after a week. I filled out the standard form they send you to prove you’re looking for work (the same form I had been filling out every week for the previous 6 months).
Then I received a letter in the mail.
“Your previous unemployment form was either incomplete or incorrect. Please fill out this new one.”
Fantastic! No idea what was wrong with it, since it could have been either incomplete *or* incorrect. Carefully looked over the new one and sent that in as well.
Another week goes by and I receive a new letter from the EDD.
“Your previous unemployment form was either incomplete or incorrect. Since your prior form was also incomplete or incorrect, you current benefit claim has been terminated. Please contact the EDD immediately to open a new claim.”
Great! So I call the EDD and listen to their long winded recording that lists every possible thing that could go wrong. Basically, every solution involves reapplying for benefits online.
So I did that. A week and a half ago. Haven’t heard back anything yet! My previous online claims were responded to within about 5 days.
It’s now been 6 weeks without an unemployment check, I cannot talk to anyone at the EDD to find out what’s going on, jobs are impossible to find, and I have about $80 left to my name. What on Earth am I supposed to do?
Update: [Dec 29, 2009] It’s been awhile, but I figured I should update the post with what I ultimately did.
What ended up working for me was directly contacting them through their email form. It surprised me that they even HAD one. But after 3 days, someone responded to me and things were quickly resolved! They mentioned a check was on the way and that my benefits had been extended.
In my email to them, I basically listed my situation and what I had done up until that point. I listed all relevant info I could find: case numbers, date of last check, dates of reapplying for UI benefits, etc.
The extended benefits lasted until August 2009, but by then I had found steady work. I actually received a letter stating that I could apply for a *third* round of benefits, but declined.
Anyway, that might be the best bet at the moment.