EDD resources tougher to access for families with language barriers

Backlogged claims, missing certifications, incomplete wage information, and other issues. Add it all up, and well over a million Californians are still waiting for benefits from California’s EDD. Leer en españolAs of Thursday, 198,605 claims are still facing delays within California’s Employment Development Department and as of May 8, more than 1.9 million claims are still unprocessed.George Hatten knows all about it, saying it can feel all but impossible to even get a hold of anyone at EDD. “I mean I sent them five emails and not even they said, you can go online and send these emails. That’s the quickest response. Nothing,” Hatten said.Hatten said that even after finally being able to get through to an operator, it took more than a month to actually get his claim resolved.”I was able to talk to somebody for five minutes and they told me, ‘OK Mr. Hatten we’re going to have an interview with you. Someone will contact you shortly.’ Well I’m thinking shortly is 24 or 48 hours — that was the end of April,” Hatten said.But, as tough as it was for George, it can be even tougher for others. Assemblymember David Chiu is leading a bill to help nonEnglish speakers. “If you speak English, EDD is remarkably difficult to navigate but it’s next to impossible if you don’t,” Chiu said.Chiu said in addition to jammed phone lines, millions of Californians face substantial language barriers. “We have 7 million Californians who speak a language primarily other than English, and while the majority of those folks are Spanish speakers, 2.4 million of them speak a language other than Spanish or English and during this pandemic and recession, people of color and immigrants have been especially hard hit,” Chiu said.KCRA 3 reached out to EDD and in a statement, they said they have Spanish translators, and that they’re exploring options to expand services to other people with limited English skills.EDD says they have phone lines for calls in multiple languages, including Mandarin, Cantonese, and Vietnamese but they didn’t respond to questions about how long it takes them to contact claimants when it comes to trying to resolve cases or schedule interviews. They add that claimants should try to answer certification questions carefully to avoid delays.

Backlogged claims, missing certifications, incomplete wage information, and other issues. Add it all up, and well over a million Californians are still waiting for benefits from California’s EDD.

As of Thursday, 198,605 claims are still facing delays within California’s Employment Development Department and as of May 8, more than 1.9 million claims are still unprocessed.

George Hatten knows all about it, saying it can feel all but impossible to even get a hold of anyone at EDD.

“I mean I sent them five emails and not even they said, you can go online and send these emails. That’s the quickest response. Nothing,” Hatten said.

Hatten said that even after finally being able to get through to an operator, it took more than a month to actually get his claim resolved.

“I was able to talk to somebody for five minutes and they told me, ‘OK Mr. Hatten we’re going to have an interview with you. Someone will contact you shortly.’ Well I’m thinking shortly is 24 or 48 hours — that was the end of April,” Hatten said.

But, as tough as it was for George, it can be even tougher for others. Assemblymember David Chiu is leading a bill to help nonEnglish speakers.

“If you speak English, EDD is remarkably difficult to navigate but it’s next to impossible if you don’t,” Chiu said.

Chiu said in addition to jammed phone lines, millions of Californians face substantial language barriers.

“We have 7 million Californians who speak a language primarily other than English, and while the majority of those folks are Spanish speakers, 2.4 million of them speak a language other than Spanish or English and during this pandemic and recession, people of color and immigrants have been especially hard hit,” Chiu said.

KCRA 3 reached out to EDD and in a statement, they said they have Spanish translators, and that they’re exploring options to expand services to other people with limited English skills.

EDD says they have phone lines for calls in multiple languages, including Mandarin, Cantonese, and Vietnamese but they didn’t respond to questions about how long it takes them to contact claimants when it comes to trying to resolve cases or schedule interviews. They add that claimants should try to answer certification questions carefully to avoid delays.