Thursday, September 26, 2013

Those who face poverty got slapped again, and they did not know why until now

I have blogged about poverty a few times this year, and I am still convinced that the way we look at and treat those who are struggling is a societal education problem.
There are people I know who currently are collecting unemployment, and have been for a while due to circumstances beyond their control. They depend on it because that is all they have for right now, having gone through their savings, 401K, etc.
Just after Labor Day this year of 2013, the California Employment Development Department (EDD) stopped sending checks; without notice. These people I know, and I am sure many other Californians were suddenly facing a worse situation than they were already in. The worst part is they were never told why they were cut off, until a news story today.
“California agency ordered to issue delayed unemployment checks”
“The state's top labor official ordered the Employment Development Department to immediately issue payments to 124,000 Californians whose benefit checks have been delayed by a computer glitch”.
“The EDD has been contending with a huge backlog of unemployment claims after an upgrade of its 30-year-old computer system malfunctioned over Labor Day weekend. Since then, the agency has been hand-processing claims, which has delayed some payments by weeks”.
“Unemployment insurance recipients said they've fallen behind on rent, car payments and other bills because of the late payments. Some reported they're already facing eviction”.
“Keion Morgan, 35, is among those struggling without his unemployment benefits. The North Hollywood resident, laid off from a job in late May as a program coordinator for a university, said he had no idea there was a problem until he read media reports. He is owed about $1,100”.
The blatant disregard shown by the EDD in not even informing the recipients is atrocious; no automated message, no letter, just silence. Have you ever tried to call the EDD or get a response? As an experiment, I tried to call them, and the automated message I got was “due to high volume of calls, we are not able to complete your request at this time”. Imagine having to hear that every day when you are desperate.
How we treat those in need is reflection upon all of us; and in this test, we failed.
Dr Flavius A B Akerele III
The ETeam

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