As many as you may know, I’m currently unemployed. The day after my last day of work, I went to California’s Employment Development Department Web site and filled out the forms to apply for unemployment. Approximately 10 days later, I received a “Notice of Unemployment Insurance Award” confirming my eligibility for unemployment insurance. That document was dated July 16, and warned me that I had 21 days to put my name and resume in California’s CalJobs Web site so all those newspapers in the state could find me and hire me – and it’s a requirement to get my unemployment check.
Up to this point, I was rather impressed with the California system.
Now it’s July 30, and I’m not.
My last day of work was July 6. So that week I don’t get paid for, because that’s the rules. But by tomorrow I should receive my third check – or so I thought.
As of today I haven’t received a dime. That’s sorta OK. I got about 3 weeks of unused vacation and holiday pay when I was sacked. But woe to anyone who got fired without that sort of cushion, because California isn’t quick to get that cash out.
It’s probably one of those accounting gimmicks to make the state budget look balanced.
And my opinion of the EDD has gone downhill as I’ve tried to find a person I could talk to about what the hang-up is and what I should expect.
I called their 1-800 number and, as I’ve come to expect, got a recorded voice. What I didn’t expect was to hear a 2-minute-long spiel that doesn’t apply to what I need to know – and then get hanged up on. That’s right, California’s “help” line for the unemployed doesn’t have a hold queue.
It gets better. I called the local Job Service office and the receptionist there was kind enough to tell me that while that is the only number I can use to get to a person, if I don’t hear “Welcome” as the first word, then I should just hang up and try again. When I hear “Welcome,” I should dial “1243” to get through the phone tree as quickly as possible – and then hope again that I can get someone to talk to. There’s no hold queue here either.
I’ve had to call up all sorts of companies for customer support and I’ve never had to go through this sort of “maybe someone will pick up and maybe they won’t and if they don’t we’ll hang up on you” dance.
I’ll try again later, but I don’t think they want to pay me.