New Protocols For Identity Verification for EDD California Unemployment
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I am writing this petition to address that there needs to be new protocols put into place for checking identity verification to and help make it a smoother process for the future and right now.
Like most people that have filed for unemployment over the past three months, I am stuck trying to get my identity verification processed. While I understand that this is put into place to protect us from others stealing our identity and am grateful for that, I believe the processing time is unacceptable. Waiting up to 8 weeks to make sure your identity is verified is shameful when people are suffering to pay rent, buy groceries or pay for health insurance during this pandemic.
Stating the Problem:
One of the major problems people are having is that they don't even know if their identity documents have been received by EDD and the only way to figure out if they have been received is to call a phone number only operating from 8am to noon, Monday through Friday. This is a very out dated system for 2020. Also, when people ask for a call back, they are told they can't get one from the verification department. This leaves people hopeless and in a unknown state about their identity verification.
My personal story:
I filed right away on 3/16/20, and like most,got a $0 balance letter awarded to me which was false. because I had worked and made enough money that I made in the past 18 months to be awarded the full benefits. The back of the letter it stated if the information is not correct you need to write EDD within the next 30 days, but does not give an address to do so.
I emailed via the website on 3/30/20 (and still have not heard back as of 6/5/20), mailed in letters and faxed letters with W2's. There has been no response and again no clear address or fax number to address them to. I made several calls with no luck getting through on the 8 to noon phone number. Finally,I called the job office on 4/24/20 and pleaded my case. They sent me through to the direct-line where I waited for 3 hours to talk to someone. The women told me that I need to verify identity and that I should have received this letter on 3/23/20...but never received it. At that point I felt a little relief thinking that in about a month I would get my unemployment. I received the letter on 4/30/20 and sent my documents out on 5/1/20: I put tracking on it so I know it got there. I waited 4 weeks, knowing they are very backed up. I eventually called again to be told that I have to call the identity verification office and they are the only ones that can do anything to get you approved. This office is only from 8 to noon...here lies the problem and why I am demanding that new protocols be put in place for the future and immediately. I have called this line over a 100 times a day for a couple weeks now not getting anyone on the phone. I fear that the weeks that I am owed will be disqualified because my identity has not been processed in a timely matter, and it will look like I have been the one to neglect my account. I was told that if that's the case I can appeal it...so another month of waiting!
To Solve The Problem Right Now:
II recommend opening another line that is open from 8am to 8pm until they are able to reduce their hours again. During the phone call you should be able to email your documents to be uploaded in the system immediately, at which point the representative can make sure you have all the correct papers before you hang up. Then you are sent an email confirmation that the documents have been submitted so you have some kind of proof that the documents were submitted.
Recommended Protocols for the Future:
If EDD can't match your identity, you should be sent an email to your portal on the EDD website, personal email or a text to your phone. This should be the same for any problems with your claims (false statement, etc). The email or text should let you know the problem and directly link you to the forms you need to file or fill out. The email should also contain a link to set up a call back if you don't understand the problem or the paperwork. There should be a letter mailed out to inform you of the problem and indicate that you should look at your email.
After you fill out the documents you should be able to upload them to EDD website This will ensure that your documents will be on a secure website instead of being mailed out (where it easier for someone to steal your identity.)
When you upload the documents you should be notified by email that they have received them in the system. EDD could also create something to track the process (i.e. showing the progress of the documents where you can see that you submitted them, they have been received in the EDD cue to be looked at, they are in the reviewing stage and then finally approved.) Also, if there is a problem with your document, you would be notified.
You could have a button on your website that you push when you mail out your identity papers. That way EDD knows you mailed them out, and if they don't receive them in 10 days they can notify you by email or text. This also gives the person filing unemployment reassurance that their claim won't be disqualified by a broken system. It takes away the anxiety of not knowing if they were received by the identity department.
You could do this with people that need to appeal or have false statement claims as well...etc.
Closing Statement and Plea for HELP!
We need help with this issue! We needed help two months ago on this issue, not a tweet four days ago saying we hired more people for that department (https://twitter.com/CA_EDD/status/1267133751437463560 .) We need to see action, since we work to pay for this program. Please help us stop this outdated way of checking documents. EDD, put yourself in our shoes! Not knowing when you will go back to work and working in your field and being in a field that doesn't offer the work from home ability. Watching your savings drain. Not being able to pay your phone bill to make the calls to EDD to figure out your claim problems. Not able afford the internet bill to check on your EDD account to claim for your weekly benefits. Not being able to pay for a stamp to mail in your identity documents or claim weekly of benefits. Calling a number every day for weeks, over 100, unable get through to see if they received YOUR documents that will help you pay your bills. The amount of anxiety that you have caused people is not right. Making people hope that they will get through to someone with low odds due to the limited call hours. People are being told that the office does not have them after they have mailed in their documents or faxed in documents several times. This is a Facebook account created to help people...there are over 5,200 comments asking for help with this issue..this is a small percentage of people that need your help with this problem(https://www.facebook.com/groups/3296311573733137/permalink/3353878261309801/ .) HELP US NOW!
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