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The safety net failed me

Unemployment checks to 80,000 Californians have been delayed after the state switched over to a new computer system. These people are still waiting on their checks.

Inexplicably, the checks stopped coming

nina montano peralta
  • Name: Nina Montaño Peralta, 51
  • Place: Upland, Calif.

I lost my job with a local city here after 17 years of employment. In California, you can receive unemployment benefits, not only if you lose your job but if your hours are reduced. I went on unemployment and continued a part-time job on weekends at a local discount retailer.

I mostly relied on my unemployment checks, which totaled about $1,400 a month and normally came every two weeks. Inexplicably, the money stopped coming the third week in August.

It's been horrible. I call the California Employment Development Department. I'm supposed to be looking for work, but you literally have to devote two or three hours to get through to a person when you call.

I was lucky. I got really nice people on the phone, but they haven't been able to fix what's wrong with my benefit. I just get transferred to voicemail.

I sold some of my jewelry. I've sold some of my mom's jewelry, and I feel so guilty. I'm a widow and I live with my sister who also lost her job a year ago. I'm literally praying and praying. I keep asking God -- I just want to pay my rent.

This is crazy -- it's bad enough to be on unemployment, but to not even get the little bit you get on unemployment is horrible.

- Last updated September 25 2013 04:21 PM ET

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