SACRAMENTO (CBS13) – People could find it easier to navigate the unemployment benefits system in California. after a new texting system goes into place, Gov. Newsom says.

On Monday, Newsom said that, during the pandemic, there are have been billions of dollars in employment assistance paid to Californians. Since March 9, the state has paid out $4.4 billion in unemployment claims, but for some, that hasn’t come easily.

After weeks of filing complaints about the Employment Development Department (EDD) phone lines, Californians will be able to text their questions about the unemployment benefits-filing process. Newsom says in the next few days, the texting system will go into effect and will help cut down on the number of phone calls and long wait times.

“Just last week, 15 million calls came into that call center and over 1 million minutes,” said Newsom.

EDD also recently added a new number, new hours, and hundreds of extra employees.