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CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8 | cbs8.com

Your Stories: San Diegans say filing for unemployment is a headache

News 8 spoke to workers that have spent hours on the phone and online trying to claim unemployment benefits.

SAN DIEGO — Many people emailed News 8 to share how difficult and time-consuming it's been trying to file for unemployment. The people News 8 spoke with have spent hours every single day trying to successfully file for unemployment, either on the phone or online. 

The three people interviewed for this story work in different fields, yet they're all experiencing the same struggle:

"I'm just so frustrated."

"I feel helpless."

"I usually sit around and cry a lot."

The pandemic has left them out of work, and they haven't been able to file for unemployment despite their efforts.

"I've probably called them 30 times already," said  Amy Silverstein of Rancho Bernardo. 

Silverstein runs a window-covering company. She tried applying for unemployment online, but received a notice saying she claimed zero benefits, and would need to call to get that corrected.

Other sole proprietors have run into the same issue, even though they now qualify for benefits. The problem is, she can't get through.

"You get the recording saying 'we are receiving more calls than we can answer,'" said Silverstein.

Shelli Elliott is furloughed from her executive chef job at SeaWorld. The password she set up for her online EDD account doesn't work, which is a problem other people have been experiencing.

"I clicked on the link like everyone does to reset the link," said Elliot. "I still have not received a link to reset my password."

Paul Catalano, who had been working at a Del Mar restaurant, thought he filed correctly for unemployment. However, it's been four weeks, and he hasn't received a check.

"I just keep hitting redial, redial, redial," said Catalano.

State EDD officials admit that they've been inundated.

They processed 878,000 claims in the week ending March 28. That's a 370% increase from the week before when 187,000 claims were processed.

Nationwide, more than 17 million people have filed for unemployment since the pandemic began. One issue is that the call center is only open from 8 a.m. -12 p.m.

Governor Newsom addressed it briefly last week.

"I'll have to learn more about that," said Newsom.

Since then, EDD has announced hours will be extended to 5 p.m., hopefully by April 20.

850 state workers have been shifted from other jobs to help.

RELATED: Economic disruptions from coronavirus hard on San Diego tenants and landlords

RELATED: Gov. Newsom: Californians receiving unemployment will get an extra $600 starting Sunday