Calls overwhelm disability benefits call centers

Calls to California’s Employment Development Department disability insurance call centers surged to 12 times their normal volume in late 2021 and early 2022 as the department dealt with fraud. Many went unanswered, leaving some Californians in the lurch for months.

EDD wants its jobless money back. But some people can’t pay.

California is asking some 1.4 million unemployment recipients to prove their eligibility months after receiving aid as part of a fraud recovery campaign. But some people say they’re caught in the Employment Development Department’s dragnet because they don’t have the documents to be cleared. Now, some risk having to pay back more than $30,000—or face collection.