California jobless benefits callers frustrated

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Updated: 1/21 11:51 am

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — Most callers seeking help with unemployment benefits are unable to reach an employee of California's Employment Development Department on any given day.

The Los Angeles Times reports Tuesday that as many as 90 percent of daily callers seeking information about missed payments or unprocessed claims are instead routed to the department's website or an automated self-service phone number.

The customer service crisis is continuing four months after the bungled debut of an upgraded computer system that delayed payments to about 150,000 people.

The department began processing some claims by hand and reassigned employees from phone lines to speed up that effort.

An Employment Development Department spokeswoman says deep budget cuts have hindered the staffing of phones.

©2014 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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