California state senators request Newsom create 24-hour helpline for EDD

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- The EDD got a bashing Thursday when the California State Assembly held a hearing that took the agency to task for not doing its job well enough and fast enough.

State senators are now proposing a 24-hour hotline to address issues.

Laura Davis tells a story I have heard often over the past few weeks. When we met she had been unemployed for weeks and had never been able to connect with a live person at EDD.

RELATED: EDD blasted by state assembly members for failing to deliver benefits

"The closest I got to getting through was I got a recorded message," she told me, "that said we are experiencing an extremely high amount of calls right now, goodbye."

When we were with Ima Holcomb, she was on the EDD helpline listening to this recording: "COVID-19 has created a big increase in the number of calls we receive. But we are here to help you as soon as possible."

Democratic State Senator Melissa Hurtado, D-Fresno, has heard similar stories from her constituents and says this has to end.

VIDEO: Unemployed workers share how they got through EDD system to finally receive benefits
EMBED More News Videos

"Just keep trying, keep calling, keep on them." Stories of successfully receiving unemployment benefits are trickling in, and workers share their encouragement and tips for success.



"I am really concerned because the unemployment rate has gone up and we really need to resolve this issue now," she tells me.

The Senator was driving from Sacramento to her district in the Central Valley when she pulled over to take my call.

She told me she partnered with Republican State Senator Scott Wilk, R-Antelope Valley, to send this letter to the Governor. Its main request is a simple one: make it possible for the EDD to answer the phone.

FAQ WITH EDD: From getting through on the phone to $600 payments, 7 On Your Side gets your questions answered

"We can not afford to wait. We need to take action immediately, and that is why we offered the 24/7 solution," she says.

The 24/7 solution is to keep the EDD phone lines open around the clock. 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

The governor hasn't responded to the request specifically, but he ordered the EDD to set up their phone lines in such a way that a caller would be connected to a specialist who could actually solve their problem.

RELATED: EDD applicants find themselves in 'purgatory' without an approval or denial

How? A phone tree could work by asking the caller for additional information, for instance saying, "If you are dealing with an ID problem, press one. If you have not received a debit card, press two." 7 On Your Side is keeping track of this proposal and will report back on any progress.

App users: For a better experience, click here to view the full map in a new window

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



If you have a question or comment about the coronavirus pandemic, submit yours via the form below or here.
Get the latest news, information and videos about the novel coronavirus pandemic here

RELATED STORIES & VIDEOS:
Copyright © 2020 KGO-TV. All Rights Reserved.