EXCLUSIVE: Private EDD survey shows users are 'completely or mostly satisfied' despite complaints

Saturday, July 17, 2021
EXCLUSIVE: EDD survey says users are satisfied despite complaints
The EDD's annual customer satisfaction survey, not meant for public view, found the department was doing a satisfactory job assisting the unemployed.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- In 7 On Your Side's ongoing investigation into the Employment Development Department and its practices, we officially asked for internal documents from the EDD. By law, when we do that, they have to turn them over. Among the information we have uncovered is an annual customer satisfaction survey that is not meant for the public to see.

We received three surveys, with the latest dated February 2021. It allows us to see what the EDD doesn't think you can handle. In the document, we found this warning: "...the public or other entities may misinterpret the comments..."

The survey's recommendation? "... Respondent comments be shared only with EDD employees charged with improving the services."

RELATED: Unemployed people must look for work to continue receiving benefits, EDD says

Let's see how you will interpret (or misinterpret) some of the comments found in the survey:

  • "It took me almost 4 months to get in contact with anyone and I couldn't get my money to pay any bills."
  • "It took me an exceptionally long time to get someone on the phone."
  • "I give an "F" on this part."

State Assemblymember James Patterson (R - Fresno) told 7 On Your Side: "They have said that we need to keep the complaints of the people of California secret because we're concerned that they might misinterpret. There is no misinterpretation in this; the California EDD has failed miserably. They are trying to cover up their failures and their own surveys demonstrate the failure."

Assemblyman Patterson has been an outspoken critic of the EDD. 7 On Your Side shared the released documents with him and his staff.

RELATED: 230K still wait for EDD benefits, millions still jam call center

"An analysis of this survey," he told 7 On Your Side, "demonstrates that they are secretive, they are hiding the truth, and they are complicit in a cover up."

7 On Your Side wanted to talk with the EDD about this, but the agency did not accept the request for an interview.

Looking further at the report finds questions about who got surveyed. Under "Methodology," the survey says the target population included customers with "active UI" (or "unemployment insurance") and "active PUA" (or "Pandemic Unemployment Assistance") claims.

I've never read the phrase "active claims" before, it doesn't mean it's not out there somewhere, but I haven't read it.

RELATED: Desperate to get through to EDD, workers pay for auto-dialing services

"I don't trust the EDD. When they say 'active claims,' the signal they send to me is that they surveyed the people that were getting their payments," says Assemblyman Patterson.

EDD could have cleared this up for us, but did not agree to an interview. So how does the EDD think it's doing, what is the survey's takeaway? Well, there is a lot to wade through in these reports, but the executive summary leads off with this: "Despite unprecedented demand, most respondents were completely or mostly satisfied with the claim filing process."

So according to the EDD's own survey, everything is going pretty darn well. According to the complaints flowing into 7 On Your Side, that is not how it appears.

Take a look at more stories and videos by Michael Finney and 7 On Your Side.

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