The State of California announced it will not accept any new unemployment claims for the next two weeks as administrators work to reduce a case backlog and prevent more fraud as more than 2 million people are out of work statewide during the coronavirus pandemic.
The California Employment Development Department is halting new unemployment claims for two weeks as it resets its system.
"I've gotten a big run around, I've gotten countless calls that I've had to call in," said Alisha Nielsen, unemployed.
It's been a nightmare for Alisha Nielsen as she's been waiting for her unemployment benefits since April.
"I just could not believe that after many phone calls of them telling me that they had fixed my application, that he was telling me once again, that the same problem was arising,"said Nielsen.
Nielsen isn't alone. According to a new report by the strike team tasked with analyzing the EDD challenges, nearly 600,000 people are part of the statewide backlog. their unemployment claims have not been processed.
But EDD said it is facing several challenges including low staffing and outdated computer system.
Fraud in a number of claims sent in the mail area also an issue.
"About a month they started rolling in couple of here and a couple there," said Chad Boeddeker, continues to receive EDD mail. "I would write return to sender not at this address and they kept coming back even with that."
EDD said it will take months to tackle it. State Senator Melissa Melendez is concerned.
"It's too little too late. I mean, we are six months into this and they are just now starting to identify problems and then it's going to take them until what January to fix them," said Melissa Melendez. "That is not acceptable."
In two weeks, when EDD starts accepting claims once again, it will be different. The new system will require two things from you. First upload an identification form and two take a selfie.
"Personally, I've been told so many times that this is fixed and that I'm going to get the unemployment," said Nielsen. "So many times someone has told me that they're going to help me. I feel like it's a wasted effort sometimes."
The state said in a news release. There are also 1 million cases where residents received payments but are awaiting a resolution to their modified claims.