Why can it take so long to get paid?

This summer, the unemployment horror stories started to boil over. As out-of-work Californians slogged through “150 redials” to the unemployment office or long waits for checks docked for previously unknown penalties, the Mercury News reported that just 3.1 million of the more than 5 million California workers who applied for benefits from March-May had received their first checks by early July.

All over the state, public officials demanded answers and an audit of the EDD after delays that in some cases stretched for months.  Reports of technical glitches and unexplained delays still abound in newly formed Facebook support groups and news articles, but officials say that common reasons for hold-ups include identity verification, missing information on wages and application errors like incomplete work histories.

There’s also no denying how drastically the workload has increased. The state processed eight times as many applications during the worst week so far of the coronavirus recession — 1,058,325 in the third week of March — than the worst week after the financial crisis, according to a CalMatters analysis