Like millions of Californians, Mary Montgomery turned to unemployment insurance in recent months to help make ends meet, as the Sacramento sushi restaurant where she worked opened and closed during the pandemic.
She considered herself lucky. Sure, there were long hold times when she called the state’s hotline for assistance. But her benefits were deposited on time, and she wasn’t swept up in the growing backlog of claims.
Then last month, the state Employment Development Department (EDD) froze her benefits without warning.
“It says that I have over five thousand dollars that I should be able to use, but there’s no way for me to use that money,” she said.