Complaints of the Employment Development Department's website going down over the weekend renewed concerns about the department's management of the pandemic-caused unemployment crisis.
Our ABC stations across California have received multiple reports from viewers that the EDD's website was either down or glitching, preventing them from logging in to certify for their benefits -- creating more worry that payments would be further delayed.
Deborah Scott of Napa told 7 On Your Side: "You feel sick to your stomach, thinking that what if this is it? What if I'm going to fall into that Bermuda Triangle hole where there will be no money until the summer?"
When asked for comment, the EDD Media Services team initially responded saying, "We're working to get system status details from our IT branch and will send an update as soon as we have more information."
Late on Monday, the EDD offered a more detailed explanation:
"Beginning on Sunday, some claimants looking to certify for their next two-week period of benefits encountered intermittent issues with the system. We still had more than a half million people come through to certify and certifications continue coming through today. The UI Online and SDI Online pages are otherwise working fine. We apologize for the inconvenience.
"If claimants encounter an issue while certifying for benefits, we recommend they check back a little later. EDD's Information Technology team continues to work on resolving the issue to mitigate impacts. When the issue is resolved, we'll update the text on the SDI and UI Online pages: https://portal.edd.ca.gov/WebApp/Login?resource_url=https%3A%2F%2Fportal.edd.ca.gov%2FWebApp%2FHome."
In response to his constituents' complaints about the EDD website, California Assemblyman Jim Patterson (R - Fresno), held a Zoom conference in which he criticized the EDD's handling of the situation and called for more accountability. He said his office received reports that the EDD website went down over the previous Saturday and Sunday.
"Here's what we know as of now," said Assm. Patterson. "The EDD system has been down; it's been off and on for several days now. We are also receiving from our inside sources at EDD, they have confirmed that it's down. As of five minutes ago, EDD did report to us that it was down that they are working on it."
Assm. Patterson voiced his constituents' frustration: "On top of that, people cannot reach someone on the phone. The EDD call center is almost worthless. And now people cannot access the website, there is nowhere else for people to turn now."
"My office is very shortly going to be formally and officially asking for a three-month report on the outages," Assm. Patterson said of the reported website outages. "And we want that to be available to me and available to the public... We're going to find out precisely how often, how long and what's wrong. Or they're going to basically, I think, have to face me and other members of the California legislature."
In a bit of good news, Deborah Scott updated 7 On Your Side and said she was able to get into her account to certify -- she thinks. "It took, but to confirm that it took, it wouldn't allow me. It wouldn't let me see in an inbox. It wouldn't let me go back into the web page. So I didn't truly know if I actually certified," she said. Not long after that, Scott was able to confirm she successfully certified for benefits.