California Squeezes The Unemployed

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Millions of California's receiving unemployment are still left in shock at the catastrophic failure of state's Employment Development Department, which has been plagued by disastrous negligence which clearly shows the inability to manage in crisis.

With the many innovations that California has spawned in Silicon Valley, through advancements in the entertainment industry and as a leader in social agendas, the state has built a mosaic of blended communities, socially aware individuals, and responsive government until the coronavirus pandemic struck.


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Catastrophic Failure

In December 2020, Governor Gavin Newsom appointed Rita Sanez, 71, a forty-year veteran of public service to run the EDD.

"Nationally, we are seeing a record number of unemployment claims as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and with that, unprecedented abuse of unemployment systems and fraudulent claims. California has certainly not escaped this national crisis unscathed but with Rita at the helm, we stand ready to ensure payments to Californians who are in desperate need of financial support while simultaneously stopping fraud in our systems and holding people who have committed fraud accountable," Governor Newsom said.

Since her takeover, the system has faced a catastrophic breakdown. Instead of creating an effective system which run efficiently and smoothly to process, manage, and handle claims, inquiries and benefit delivery, the system has implemented a series of obstacles making the entire process extremely difficult in an effort to force people to secure any employment to alleviate the stress of the system.


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Withholding and Suppression of The Vulnerable

This obvious maneuver is very much rooted in politics and is meant to signal victory for Governor Newsom, the Biden Administration, and California leadership by creating false unemployment data which shows a reduced volume of unemployed creating better unemployment numbers across the board.

The process of withholding, which is more than simply withholding benefits, it is an intentional effort that includes unanswered correspondence, repeated mistakes, creating more obstacles and challenges, the refiling of a new benefit year instead of the simpler system of extensions, reducing weekly benefit rates, failing to supply weekly confirmation forms, setting action dates which are intentional to blindside recipients who believe the EDD will in fact have the system repaired only to find the action date does not produce any new fixes, and finally replying to messages to complete the entire refiling of a new benefit year again, all in the effort to reduce the volume of recipients, until finally suspending benefits entirely.

Those on the lower end of the scale, the more vulnerable, are deemed, simply due to the benefit rate, as less intelligent and more likely to be employed in menial labor and more likely to be service workers, foundational employees necessary to the reopening, without recourse and unable to withstand the lengthy abuse are primarily the target.


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Withholding, The Most Toxic Emotional Abuse Tactic

Abuse tactic, from the DSM-5 manual states, "A positive response to any of the following seven statements was used to determine whether the female/recipient was emotionally abused," of the seven statements, financial withholding is considered as abuse "He takes your money or prevents you from knowing about or having access to the family income."

The Mend Projects defines withholding as, "the most toxic emotional abuse tactic of all. But even more common and perhaps more damaging than refusing to engage in affection is when an individual tries to control or domineer over another person by refusing to authentically communicate. There is a myriad of ways in which withholding can manifest. A few examples are: A co-worker who is collaborating with you on a project and refuses to share pertinent information from the client so that you appear incompetent to your boss. A "friend" who minimizes your successes and gets angry and bullies if you do not tend to their every need and whim." 

Withholding manipulation is used to guarantee or motivate a certain outcome. For Newsom, with his current political troubles and the pandemic fallout marring his reputation and job rating with inadequacies and failures, a solid reopening with employment numbers to match herald him as effective.

EDD Suspends Benefits

A recipient of benefits, spoke with Haute-Lifestyle.com on the condition of anonymity, "my benefits stopped in March 2021. The last two weeks, March 27, and April 3, 2021 the weeks are marked as "Not Paid." I was told my benefit year ended and I should refile, so I did. I did everything they asked, refiled, verified my ID, provided all the right documents, waited six hours for the ID.me team to access the system. I received all the documentation that the benefit rate had decreased by $100 per week."

This isn't the first recipient of benefits who has spoken of long delays in the receipt of benefits, dropped phone calls. The internet is filled with news reports of millions of California's waiting, still, for the EDD who is an agency of the state and not an entity which implements abuse tactics one would find in domestic abuse situations.


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After reviewing the print-out of messages, the text messages and U.S. Postal EDD forms, it became clear the system has suffered a catastrophic breakdown. The expectation of most recipients remains hopeful, which is also an abuse tactic, build up hope to destroy in order to manipulate behavior. 

"I received a text message on April 10, that my a PECU extension had been filed on my behalf. Then the confirmation forms stopped coming. If there are no confirmation forms, status means nothing, pending or not paid, then the missing weeks are simply gone and anyone in the same situation is without recourse. I also began to send requests for new confirmation forms. No response. Then after sending two message a day for at minimum 20 days, I was told my benefit year had ended and I should refile to see if I qualified for a new benefit year. I explained I did that, had the documents, all the documentation, the date they information was mailed, received, the text messages, everything. No response. Honestly, I send two messages a day even though I don't expect it ever to be addressed," the source said.

"Withholding makes the victim feel as if they are isolated, ignored or do not have control over their own lives. One of the reasons it's so damaging is because the victim cannot do anything to stop it; their only hope for relief is to leave the situation or rid themselves of the abuser," according to The Mend Project.

 

*A follow-up on our anonymous source. The California EDD answered to a message the recipient had sent from mid-April on June 3, 2021 and provided the weekly confirmation forms.

She said, "I had given up hope on ever hearing from them and stopped sending the daily message. Two days later, I received the reply and was shocked to find that all the weekly confirmation forms were provided as well. It was like experiencing a miracle."

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