Is California becoming the movie Brazil?

I was laid off from my job as a family therapist in a company-wide lay off when Morongo Basin Mental Health closed their doors on June 30 and now am actively seeking work. I have all the documentation to prove that and to show my income for any number of past quarters. It seems I am the ideal candidate for unemployment insurance.

Except that I have worked at a summer camp in Oregon for a few weeks in the last 18 months. (Each summer for the last 13 years, actually, but the Employment Development Office only wants 18-24 months of information.) That means I have to file for UI by telephone. The EDD website says you can apply online, by mail, or fax but eventually says it’s got to be by phone if there’s any out-of-state income.

The problem is, because of the sequester, you cannot get through by phone. Hours of operation are 8-noon, Monday through Thursday, and with limited staff. Last week, the outgoing message implied that if I called early enough I might be able to talk to someone, but I was not able to get through. This week, the message says they just don’t have the staff to answer my call.

Both weeks, the message kindly encourages me to apply online.

As far as I can tell my only options are to lie about my out-of-state income or to give up. Or maybe drive eight hours to Sacramento to make a stink at the Employment Development Office. (No, they do not process claims in person.)

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