Waiting for Unemployment Payments
Photo: Video by kmir6.com
CREATED Sep. 25, 2013
BERMUDA DUNES -- Tens of thousands of Californians are waiting for their unemployment payments after a massive backlog at the Employment Development Department, or EDD.
This may be the reason a local woman isn't receiving her benefits.
She asked KMIR-6 for help.
Michelle Simmons wrote us,"...I have been told that i qualified and would receive $300 a week, then received only one payment before they cut me off...I have tried all avenues of rectifying this issue...."
The state's unemployment office is working to get out from under the serious backlog.
Simmons, a mother of three living in Bermuda Dunes, is desperate to know why she hasn't been receiving the unemployment checks she's qualified for.
In the past four months she lost her home and had to sell her car and move into an apartment.
"I couldn't keep food on the table, so it's just been emotionally, mentally and physically and financially draining."
Michelle says she was qualified to receive $300 a week in unemployment.
In the last four months, she received only one payment.
Michelle's dwindling bank account forced her to move to an apartment with her three children.
"Leasing to own a home, that ended up losing that and had to move, downsize, had to get of a lot of personal items."
Michelle is a massage therapist and works for two companies, but in the off-season work dries up here in the desert.
"I have so many friends in the same industry and different industries that are experiencing the same thing."
Michelle doesn't understand why she isn't receiving unemployment benefits.
"I've always been a hard worker, I've actually owned my own day spa before, and so I know how the system works and I know what's owed to me, and I do qualify, they even told me I do qualify."
Michelle says after the checks stopped coming, the EDD told her the forms were wrong.
Since then, she's been trying to get a straight answer from the state.
"I got ahold of them one time, and they said I needed to call a different number, and then I called a different number and of course couldn't get ahold of anybody."
Michelle was finally told she should get a payment again.
"It said that I should receive payment within ten days, well that was August 21st," said Michelle.
That's right about the time a major upgrade to the unemployment computer system went online.
It didn't go well, and problems led to major delays in delivery of unemployment checks.
EDD says they have moved much of their staff to work overtime to address the backlog.
About 80,000 people still need to be processed.
Michelle doesn't know if she falls in the backlog, but is hopeful.
"I just want something done, not just for me, but for everybody that's been affected by this."
We tried to reach EDD about Michelle's particular case.
While they did email us the latest on their attempts to help those waiting for their money, they did not call us back about michelle.
People who are part of the backlog should begin receiving payment as soon as Thursday.
Michelle said she will let us know if she does get a check.