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'I Feel Lost And Unheard': Laid-Off Workers Facing Issues Receiving Unemployment Money

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — Due to coronavirus shutdowns, 22 million Americans have filed for unemployment in the past month. Amid the influx of applications, many people have reported having a problem getting their money.

Kristina Campese was laid off from her job on March 12 after three years as a food server at The Cheesecake Factory. She applied for unemployment three days later, mailing her paperwork through certified mail, but has yet to get a response.

"I feel lost and unheard," said Campese.  "I'm currently locked out of the online and I've sent the password request over 35 times and they have not sent the reset, soI'm locked out of any online ability to get to my unemployment."

She said the system has left her, and others, in limbo.

"I have a serious problem with the fact that they closed their doors and they don't have anybody on-site at Unemployment," she said.

Melody Azani, 25, was laid off from her retail job on April 1. She applied for unemployment online four days later but also hasn't received any response.

"I recently filed and haven't heard much back," said Azani. "Very frustrating because I don't know if they need more paperwork from me or if I will get a check I time for next bills."

"Even though quarantine is going on, the bills haven't stopped," she said.

Campese said she thinks everyone deserves assistance but she's frustrated about Governor Gavin Newsom's plan to help undocumented immigrants before she, and others, receive their money.

"Unemployment, we pay into. That's our money," she said. "I'm an American citizen, and I should have been paid, along with everybody else... before you should even consider taking resources and giving it to an undocumented person."

Due to an increase in calls, the Employment Development Department will add a secondary call center line beginning Monday so people in California can call in between the hours of 8 a.m. and 8 p.m., seven days a week.

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