Computer glitch may delay unemployment checks
SACRAMENTO, CA (KGO) -- Thousands of people in California, who've been expecting to get extended unemployment benefits, are being told to wait. A computer problem is threatening to delay delivery of their checks until after Christmas.
The glitch is because people who ran out of their benefits were granted extra benefits by the feds and the Employment Development Department is blaming it on a computer glitch. Almost everyone else is blaming the EDD.
At a job center in San Francisco, there was line to get on one of direct phone lines into the EDD.
The same occurred at a job center in Sacramento where lines of people frustrated that their employment checks aren't in the mail and haven't been for weeks.
"For about a month now, and Christmas is coming up my daughter needs clothes, my son needs clothes and toys and I have a lot bills to pay and it's kind of hard," said Bryan Green.
Across the state, 111,000 California's are in the same position. A federal extension of benefits they could be eligible for at least another 14 weeks' worth of checks.
But in California, the EDD's computers aren't accepting the change. The department was closed today because it's furlough Friday.
Michael Bernick was director of EDD until 2004.
"I am in close touch with EDD. It's just a system that is overwhelmed in terms of numbers," he said.
There are too many unemployed Californians and 30-year-old computer system.
"Now in 2002, the federal government did give California $60 million to upgrade the system and we're in the process of doing that," said Bernick
Seven years and their still in the process? Senator Mark Leno sits on the committee that oversees the EDD.
"It appears they were asleep at the switch. The Senate Labor Committee has already held one hearing on the operations of EDD," said Sen. Leno, D-California.
And Leno says there will be more. But for Diane Casper in San Bernardino county and 111,000 others, it's a little late.
"Well I don't know how much longer my landlord can hold on," said Casper. "Now I'm going to have to ask my landlord to wait another two weeks."
So even though the EDD office is closed, the department's spokeswoman told ABC7 the $60 million upgrade to their computer system that started seven years ago, was slowed by "procurement problems and approval requirements" and they are working on it.
Checks could arrive in a couple of weeks, but if the computers balk again it could be after Christmas.
california budget crisis, politics, mark matthews
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