FACCC* Director of
Offers Unemployment Filing Advice
(*Faculty Association of California Community Colleges)
I have been speaking with an unprecedented number of FACCC members who are experiencing difficulties reaching the EDD to check on the status of a claim, or are having other delays in receiving benefits. The EDD is trying to maintain grace under pressure as they are stretching to meet the needs of the unemployed at a time when they are understaffed, underfunded and are being forced to shut down operations three times a month due to furloughs. I spoke with a representative from the Government Relations Department and was given a briefing on how to address many issues. As many of you have experienced, it is nearly impossible to contact the EDD through the telephone. According to the EDD these are specifics you should know:
- File Online. According to the EDD, over 80% of claims are filed electronically. When you file electronically you are put into the system immediately and you are assigned a confirmation number which gives you a paper trail. Plus, the EDD claims that e-filing is processed more quickly than any other type. You can go here to file: www.edd.ca.gov/Unemployment/. On the right hand side of the page there is a section that reads "Self-Service Options." Click on the "Apply for UI or Re-open a UI Claim Online" link. From there, you will be navigated through the process.
- If you have a question(s) regarding the status of your claim, regardless of how you filed, you should also contact the EDD through the online website at the address above. Under the "General Information" heading in the middle of that page there is a link that says "Contact Us." Click there and follow the prompts. There is a drop list of issue areas and you can email EDD with your specific questions. EDD will respond to you via email or telephone—your choice. The EDD claims that average wait time for a response is three to five days. The EDD says that email requests are processed more quickly than other requests. I advise listing "telephone" as your contact if you have a working cell phone, because then you can ask additional questions once you have a representative on the line.
You can also check on the status of your UI benefit payment, once you have a benefits amount established, through a "check status only" telephone line. Contact information and instructions are here: www.edd.ca.gov/Unemployment/FAQ_-_Contacting_UI.htm - WhereismyUIcheck.
- Update your mailing address through the postal service! The EDD does not use the mailing address that you write down on your application. They use the last known address that the postal service provides them. Once a week the postal service sends the EDD an updated list of all address changes that they have processed, and that is what the EDD uses to mail out your claim forms, checks, etc. If you have listed a different address than the one that the postal service has on record for you, you will probably not receive your information.
- If there is a problem with your claim, the problem might be with your employer. It is very rare, but occasionally districts give the wrong information regarding your employment. If you experience this, you should call your local grievance officer immediately! (AFA has worked closely with the Human Resources Department to clarify the right of adjunct faculty to receive unemployment benefits. We hope this will prevent most of the sorts of problems Andrea is referring to here. Follow this link for more information.)
- If you are on extended unemployment insurance benefits, you will be automatically asked to list the employment you have sought. This is from Federal law. Go ahead and list the work you have looked for. Even those who are not on extended benefits may be asked to list the employment they have sought. You are required to look for work in your area of residence that is within your field. The EDD knows that there isn't any work available. Just be honest and list the websites you look at, where you might have sent in resumes, etc.
- Remember, CCC Part-Time Faculty have NO REASONABLE ASSURANCE of returning to work, regardless of any letter from the district stating that you will have a class(es). Marking this incorrectly is still the number one reason claims are denied. Some districts state that this is a contract, but it is not a contract in the legal sense and you should not state that it is a contract on your application. The Cervisi Decision, a landmark court decision, established that part-time community college faculty have no reasonable assurance of returning to work. If you ever find yourself having to defend "reasonable assurance" with an EDD representative, you should reference the Cervisi Decision.
However, if you also concurrently teach as a substitute in a K-12 school, the Cervisi Decision does not automatically apply to you. You will probably be denied, then need to seek an appeal from an EDD administrative judge.
Please contact me if you are in this situation and seeking EDD benefits.
I hope that you and your colleagues find some of these tips helpful. As always, I let people know that I am not an attorney and these comments do and should not substitute for legal advice!Internet Is the Best Way to Contact EDD
There have been no changes to the filing process for unemployment benefits through EDD. According to Andrea York, FACCC Director of Government Relations, "The Internet is now the best place to start with your new or existing claim. Because of the budget cuts coupled with record high unemployment rates, the EDD has been severely impacted in their ability to provide services in a timely manner. The best thing to do is to work over the email."
Please feel free to contact me with any questions, comments or suggestions.
Andrea York, FACCC
Director of Government Relations
1823 11th Street
Sacramento, CA 95811
T- (916) 447-8555
F- (916) 447-0726
York says, "The EDD has a great system for getting any questions answered. It is labeled 'Ask EDD' under the 'Contact UI' link on their website." (www.edd.ca.gov/Unemployment/Contact_ui.htm)
When you click on that link, a series of prompts will help to direct your email to the correct department. About this part of the process, York says, "You have the opportunity to write an email asking as many questions as possible. Then, you leave your preferred method of response. I recommend the telephone, because then you can ask follow-up questions if need be without additional waiting time. The average response time is three to five working days. I know this seems like a long time, but again, the budget cuts have really impacted response times."
FACCC Helps with Unemployment Claim Denials
If you are an adjunct faculty member whose unemployment benefit claim has been denied by the EDD based upon reasonable assurance of continued employment, we recommend that you contact the AFA office at firstname.lastname@example.org for further assistance. AFA's office staff will put you in touch with adjunct faculty members serving on the Executive Council who are personally knowledgeable about the UI benefits process and troubleshooting, and they will help you with your claims denial appeal. If necessary, AFA may enlist the assistance of Andrea York, FACCC's Director of Government Relations, who works with EDD to help resolve those denials.
Note: AB 2412, passed in January 2005, requires that community college districts provide EDD with accurate information regarding the reasonable assurance of continued employment for faculty who apply for unemployment benefits. If a district fails to provide accurate information, it may be fined.
Online Guide to Filing Process
In Fall 2009, the FACCC Education Institute's Part-Time Symposium included a workshop on "Filing for Unemployment." To view a PowerPoint presentation from this workshop, click here.
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