Folks, as I reported, I recently took a position at California’s most publicized agency, Employment Development Department (EDD). While I’m just a tiny part of the organization, I can attest that there is a lot of crazy junk gumming up the works. This post is to give you an idea of what’s happening.
To collect unemployment in California, and presumably anywhere else, you must normally meet two conditions: first you must be able to prove your identity, and second, you must have worked in California and contributed to the state’s unemployment fund.
The following are all true. Names are withheld so I can keep my job.
While I was in a training session, an applicant for unemployment was randomly picked as an example. This guy applied with a variety of documents such as Green Card, driver’s license, etc. The training allowed us to actually see the documents submitted to the State of California. While the name on all the documents matched, the birthdays were very wrong. The initial batch of documents submitted by this applicant had birthdates in two different months and on two different days. Of the documents submitted, at least two had one birthdate and others had a second birthdate. In the initial pass, this guy was denied unemployment; however, he appealed the denial. He was approved in the appeals process by someone that seems to be designated as an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ). Since he was now identity approved, the trainer, entered the Social Security Number that he provided into one of their many computer programs and the Social Security Administration (SSA) returned the same name with yet a third birthdate for this individual. At this point, I and another trainee, both with private sector background, challenged the instructor. How can a guy that submitted identity documents with three different birthdates in different months be approved for benefits? The instructor answered that when he appealed, he submitted two documents with the same birthdate; thus, he was now identity approved by the ALJ and it’s our job to mark the applicant as eligible.
Folks you can’t believe the ages of applicants for unemployment. A large segment of the applicants are minors. And no, I don’t mean 15 with a paper route. The youngest applicant that I personally have seen was 1 ½ years old. Born in 2019. But the little tyke is in good company. Here are some other years that I noted, 2017, 2016, 2015, 2010, 2007, 2008, and 2005.
One girl applied for unemployment because she earned $100 in cash during 2019 and due to Covid, she couldn’t babysit in 2020.
One applicant (still a minor) says he (or she) was a child actor but hadn’t worked in seven years and was applying for unemployment during Covid.
One applicant about 11 years old, said she was a part-time model and lost income due to Covid. She was the only minor that had any reported income to the state.
Not the be left out, the infirm and elderly are also trying to cash in on California’s Unemployment Give-away. The oldest applicant I personally have seen was born in 1930. This person is in good company also. Again, no reported income but they’re applying anyways. Makes you wonder if there’s a consolation prize just for entering.
Many people have notes on their accounts stating, “over 100 SSNs submitted from this address.” I’ve seen others with 35 at the same address. Multiple applicants at the same address are common to see.
Other notes on accounts include, “Claimant has not lived at address filed on this claim for 17 years” and “claimant letter … postmarked FedEx International from India” and “verified claimant address on internet maps, the address is a vacant lot.”
You may not realize that you can live virtually anywhere in the world and apply for unemployment in California. I spoke with my sister about this, and she correctly reminded me, it’s a matter of where you worked then, not where you are living now. Thus, applications have arrived from all over. In a brief time, I’ve seen applications from Arizona, Nevada, Colorado, Georgia, Oklahoma, Arkansas, North Carolina, and Texas. The thought of California sending money to Texas is funny, considering that they are already send many jobs there.
This reminds me that one fellow did have a note on his account stating that he had never lived or worked in California, only Georgia, but he applied anyways.
There is a diversity of applicants. I’ve seen many great leaders seeking handouts at the public trough including Buddha, Mohammed, Jesus, and Israel. Oh and a few folks named after Greek gods as well. No matter who you are or where you live, every applicant is given the same process. If we can check the boxes for you, then you can qualify.
Oh, all my examples above were approved for identity purposes. Whether they eventually got a check from Uncle Gavin is unknown.
EDD has the same problems as every other state agency, the computer programs can’t talk to each other. EDD has a mind-boggling amount of resources available but at the end of the day, its up to humans to enter data because processes and programs are limited. Again, the backbone of the agency are those pesky Unix programs that we patched back in the Y2K days.
I currently have to use four different programs to do my job but I’m aware of at lease five more that others in the agency are using. My first step is to match the claim information in three different programs, if the unemployment application is not entered in all three, it’s a hard stop and the email telling me what to do gets returned to the pool of limbo and despair and I go on to the next item.
Folks, I might get into more detail about the claims process in another post, but my overall point is that all these dead-end claims are clogging up the system. All these folks with no business applying are gumming up the works and preventing others from being vetted for eligibility. Yes, EDD is a mess, but they have plenty of help as I hope I’ve illustrated.