L.A. Workers Line Up for Unemployment Relief

By Xennia Hamilton

The coronavirus pandemic has left many people unemployed. Many students and Californians have not only found themselves without a job or paycheck to pay rent or any other bills.

More than half of the population of Los Angeles is now unemployed, according to a national survey from the USC Dornsife Center for Economic and Social Research.

To file for unemployment in California, workers must contact the Employment Development Department. If you have recently become unemployed or have not worked, you may file a claim online or by phone. To qualify, you must be unemployed through no fault of your own, totally or partially unemployed and ready and willing to accept work. 

California is currently leading the number of unemployment claims in the country with a little over 3 million unemployment claims filed since the start of Covid-19. New York, Florida and Texas follow California in the number of claims filed. 

“This is the vacation we didn’t need or want,” said Mariaela Lopez, a part-time worker who was recently furloughed from her job. “Some of us have to pay bills and take care of our kids or family members.”  

Researchers found that only 45% of L.A. workers are still employed, compared with 61% in mid-March as 1.3 million people have lost their jobs during the coronavirus crisis. 

“In L.A., there was a certain level of insecurity to begin with, and it has increased a little bit more than it has in the national average,” USC’s Jill Darling, survey director for the Understanding America Study, said recently according to LAist.

The unemployment process usually takes three weeks to receive benefits, yet with this pandemic emergency, Gov. Gavin Newsom has executed an order waiving the one week waiting period to allow applications to be processed faster.

“We are seeing certainly an unprecedented demand for these benefits, more of a sudden slam of demand, as you can well imagine,” said EDD Spokesperson Loree Levy, in an interview with KQED.org. “”So for that reason, we have got all hands on deck here at the EDD, trying to do everything we can to streamline the processing of these claims.” 

Many feel the strain of quarantine and are eager to return to work and school. 

“It just feels as if there is nothing to do. We are bored just sitting home with everything being closed,” said Antonio Nedison, a part-time worker. “You even get tired of sleeping and unemployment will only cover so much.”

Workers can also use EDD services to file for disability insurance if you or someone you know has become unemployed because they have been diagnosed with Covid-19.

To file for Unemployment Insurance online, visit EDD at  www.edd.ca.gov and to contact them by phone 1-800-300-5616 seven days a week, from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. 

Photo by Abu Izquierdo
Photo by Abu Izquierdo

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