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The check's not in the mail: Unemployment checks delayed by computer glitch

Published On: Dec 24 2013 06:41:24 AM CST   Updated On: Sep 18 2013 10:06:45 PM CDT

OROVILLE, Calif. -

Unemployment just got more stressful.  There's been a delay for Californians in getting their unemployment checks.

A computer glitch at the Employment Development Department is causing a loss of income for unemployed workers like Lonny Gillen.

A maintenance worker by trade, Gillen has been out of work for about a year and a half. This week instead of receiving his unemployment check, Gillen got a letter telling him that due to a delay in how the state is processing unemployment benefits, his check will be delayed.

Like many others in the state, Dave McClain, an out-of-work clerk,  relies on unemployment benefits.

”It's not really that astronomical,” said McClain.  “It's only $520 a month, but that's huge right now.  It's survival.”

Last week the Employment Development Department's office in Oroville was filled with 100 angry unemployment claimants.  They demanded answers after their checks never arrived in the mail.

Dana Smith of the Employment Development Department tried to explain to each person that the state's new system designed to streamline the process isn't ready.  The problem isn’t just here in the Northstate, but throughout much of California.

”It took some things from the old system that it probably shouldn't have,” said Smith.  “That has stopped people's pay and created issues for us to address.”

Smith said she's sensitive to the claimants needs, but the problem is overwhelming.  Still, not as overwhelming as it is for those waiting for their checks to help pay the bills.

Viviana Keemon is trying to stay patient.  “Rent is coming up due,” said Keemon.  “It could cost a little bit extra if we don't have it on time.”

The long-term affects of this change will make claiming and managing unemployment benefits far easier.  But this short-term pain is filled with anxiety and stress for all concerned.   Adding more stress for the claimants is that their next checks may also be delayed, making for four weeks without benefits.