Why can’t you visit the EDD in person? Because their offices have been closed for more than 25 years

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San Francisco (KGO)-Anyone who has had to deal with the Employment Development Department in the past year knows how difficult it is to call someone to help with unemployment insurance claims. Frustrated workers want to go to their local EDD office and get everything right. Of course, the building was closed and everyone attributed it to the pandemic. Well, 7 On Your Side learned that this started long ago.

Related: EDD claimed that a Lakeport man was in jail and ordered the unemployment allowance to be returned

When the entire state was closed, so was the EDD building. However, when the state reopened on June 15, the unemployment office remained closed, not just because of a pandemic. After all, the unemployment office has been closed for the past 25 years.

It was the same training for thousands of unemployed Californians:

“Thank you for calling the Employment Development Department,” he recorded on the phone.

“We have greatly strengthened our ability to support …” it continues.

“Currently, there are too many calls to answer …”

“And we can’t help you at this time …”

“Please try again later …” Recording will stop and the line will be disconnected.

video: Louisiana residents received $ 1 million in COVID funding from California EDD

“It’s incredibly annoying and insanely annoying. I had to wait three hours for EDD,” said Oscar Alcaraz of Torrance.

Hesperia’s Roxzan Macon said, “They will get your information, put you on hold, and hang up.”

“I wish I could go to the office where I had the files,” Alcaraz added. “So I can go there and say,’What do you need from me? Do you need this? Here it is.’”

“I physically go to the EDD office address and get all the information,” said Ben Chrimes of San Jose.

A frustrated worker who appeared in the EDD office during a pandemic encountered an iron gate and a bolted door. The sign told them to call the same number 800 they were calling over and over again.

When the blockade of the state ended on June 15, many thought they could finally get off and amend their claims directly.

It didn’t happen.

video: Despite state-wide renewal exemption, expired driver’s license requires CA Female EDD benefits

“They kept coming to the door,’No, we’re closed. We’re closed,’” Macon said.

“Oh, are they all closed? Okay, it’s great,” Klimes said.

7 On Your Side contacted the local EDD office and asked why it was still locked. The agent who received the call simply said, “Oxnard, 1993.”

Many do not remember the shootings at the EDD building in Oxnard.

“He shot surveillance cameras and started shooting people,” shooting witness Dili Gonzalez told KABC in 1993.

“Is that when you hit the floor?” KABC reporter Jeff Michael asked Gonzales in an archive newsreel.

“Everyone hit the floor when he shot a surveillance camera, that’s when he started shooting people,” Gonzales asserted.

Exclusive: Private EDD Survey Shows Users Are “Completely or Almost Satisfied” Despite Complaints

At the time, ABC reported that a man with a shotgun fired in the office, killing three EDD employees.

“According to witnesses, the shooter placed a gun on the counter and began firing, killing two men behind the counter and injuring a woman who later died in the hospital. After that, he emptied the room. And injured four others, including the wife of Mayor Oxnard. ” KABC report.

The shooter then followed the police to another EDD building in Ventura.

“There, police were ready. It was a short shootout. The suspect was injured, handcuffed, and died on the scene,” the simultaneous report concluded.

Andrew Jimenez oversees a filming documentary. His mother was one of the EDD employees who barely escaped the massacre of the day.

“It was the first mass shooting in Ventura County, and it was a bit forgotten,” Jimenez said.

Related item: Misleading language questions that cause unemployment benefits to be “pending” for weeks

“She called 911 and he approached the desk and pointed the gun at her. For some reason, God’s intervention clogged the gun. He eventually took out another gun and my mother’s I shot my colleague as if she was right next to her, “said Jimenez.

Twenty-five years later, he heard the recording of his mother’s desperate 911 call.

“When I heard that, I was speechless … if things were different that day, my mother might not be here,” he said.

Local newspapers reported that the suspect was denied unemployment benefits, lost his appeal and spent seven years finding a job, but never.

“Safety was a concern … the most extreme was someone bringing a shotgun,” said former EDD director Michael Bernick.

Within three years, EDD moved all unemployed staff from the public eye to the call center, leaving only the job center inside the EDD building.

video: California State Legislature says the latest EDD issue is “beyond the unacceptable”

But Bernick said protecting employees is only part of the reason.

“Many motivations for ending face-to-face were efficiency … one is to save money, and two are, in many ways, easier for the claimant,” he says. I did.

For the first time, workers were able to file a claim by phone or mail. You no longer have to wait in line.

“They didn’t have to get into a car or bus, get off at the UI office and wait in line for an hour or two. They were able to pick up the phone, file and authenticate,” Bernick said. I am.

Former EDD supervisor Michael Dolphin said this was part of the promotion of modernization. “Unemployment insurance did not require face-to-face, person-to-person communication.”

“Automating the unemployment insurance system can help us get the job done more efficiently and effectively,” Dolphin said.

Related: EDD misclassifies Bay Area women struggling to profit for 15 months

Some lawmakers were unaware that the unemployment office had been closed for a quarter of a century.

“That is, I’m as surprised as you’ve learned this now,” said State Congressman David Chiu (D-San Francisco).

“It’s part of this ongoing ectenia that’s difficult to deal with EDD,” added State Senator Josh Becker (D-San Mateo).

Initially, call centers were considered a huge success. According to EDD, direct billing took an average of 2 hours and 48 minutes, including travel and waiting times.

The telephone submission took only 15 minutes.

Exclusive: CA says it’s time to “fundamentally change” EDD

According to a 2001 state audit report, the average call to EDD was only 9 minutes, an unprecedented speed today.

In this year’s audit, during a pandemic, EDD answered less than 1% of calls when it was flooded with nearly 2 million calls a week.

“It’s hard to believe that we haven’t seen any improvement in the last few years,” Dolphin said.

“I think the challenge is really EDD, and I think most governments are frankly not keeping up with the times,” said Congressman Phil Ting (D-San Francisco). “Government in general, this is both a state and a city. We face many challenges due to the lack of good technology products.”

Related: Bay Area men lose all profits after returning EDD overpayment

“This agency has had many shortcomings since 10 years ago. The fact that we couldn’t help our customers in a timely manner and couldn’t use the technology,” added Chiu.

“People call EDD, call EDD, call EDD …” says Congressman Tasha Bonner Holbus (D-Encinitas).

“I’m frustrated, discouraged, and angry,” said Oscar Alcaraz.

You can go to the EDD building, but only for using the phone and computer. You still need to call the 800 number for help. Tomorrow, we’ll see how call centers have evolved over the years. Need to go back to service directly?

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