Wednesday, August 05, 2009

More crap about the unemployment thing

Okay, so we are out of money, again.

I thought we had finally gotten some things sorted out, and that my husband would keep his current job (while trying to get his own business started), even though they only have him working half of the time or less, and that the other half of the time he would collect unemployment.

This whole unemployment thing has been annoying me for years, mostly just cause he couldn't be bothered to go and apply for the thing. He said that they "made him feel bad." I am not sure when they "made him feel bad", since I could never get him to apply. When did he ever talk to them? And how could they have "made him feel bad" if he hadn't talked to them?

Before I knew him he did stupid stuff like get a job washing dishes and then quit a week later because he didn't like to wash dishes. Maybe he tried to get unemployment then. Maybe they told him he was a bum and he should quit bothering them and go get a job.

Anyway, when I met him he was an out of work nurse's aide. He was out of work because the old person he was taking care of died. So he was sitting at home just waiting for the agency to find him another patient, and they never found one. Maybe he tried to get unemployment then, but I don't know.

I used to work with this annoying woman who was always saying how she should just quit and apply for unemployment. She said that unemployment paid more than the fast food job that we had. I said that I didn't think you got paid unemployment just because you quit your job, and I really didn't believe her that someone would give you more money for staying at home than for working. But if she really believed that, why didn't she do it instead of complaining about the job (and not doing her share of the work most of the time)? She did eventually leave, but I never heard if she got that unemployment or if it really was more money than her paycheck.

But a few years later, I quit a job and applied for unemployment, just to see what would happen. I was told that I quit my job and that I didn't qualify. That's okay, I was just wanting to see what would happen, just in case I ever really needed to apply. So I didn't get any money, but I don't remember anyone trying to "make me feel bad" about applying.

So for the last five years or so I have had these discussions with my husband about filing for unemployment, and that first year he just wouldn't do it, because they "made him feel bad." So he had a job, but everyone was laid off for the summer. Everyone else filed for unemployment and/or found a temp job. My husband applied for a lot of jobs but not unemployment. By the the time he was going on interviews and such, the summer was just about over, and it was nearly time for him to go back to work anyway. So no summer job, and no unemployment checks.

To make up for not having a job or unemployment checks, we maxed out my credit card and borrowed money from my mother. The card is still not paid off, and he hasn't paid back my mother.

The next summer, he did apply for the unemployment. And there was nothing to it. He asked what his co-workers did, and he did what they did, and we got checks in the mail. No one "made him feel bad" or anything like that. I don't even remember it taking that much time or being put on hold forever or anything like that. About a month later he got a better paying job and the unemployment checks stopped.

But that was three years ago, when there weren't that many people out of work. Now everyone is out of work, and getting the unemployment is a hassle, and if there is a problem and you call for help you get put on hold forever.

So even though he has had this job with at least a seasonal lay-off for three years, and he should have at least been getting unemployment around Christmas time, he hasn't gotten any unemployment until about a month ago. The first year we really just didn't think that we needed it. He probably didn't apply because the month before he was laid off he made a lot of money.

The second year was not as good. And there was a seasonal lay-off, and his co-workers applied for and received unemployment. My husband was told that he didn't qualify. That didn't make any sense if his co-workers were getting it. The same job and the same company and the same seasonal lay-off. How could some people qualify and some not?

But he never would find out what the problem was. He didn't like being put on hold forever, and he wouldn't ask his co-workers what they did. So we didn't get any money.

Now people are getting laid off for a week or two, and then working for a week or two (or maybe they work half the week), and again his co-workers filed for unemployment. And some of them got it, and again he was told that he didn't qualify.

Sorry, we are out of money. Find out what the problem is and apply again.

Okay, so after talking to co-workers and calling and being put on hold forever, he finally learns that the reason he didn't qualify is that he said he was not available to work. He was just trying to be truthful. Since it is just a lay-off, and it is supposed to be temporary, he wouldn't be available for work except for the week or two that he is laid off. The only way that he could really be available for work was if he quit his job (which would then not only make him not qualify for unemployment, but also cost us our health insurance).

Okay, so he applies again, and this time he says that he is available for work. Whatever.

So, great, he is now going to get unemployment for the weeks that he doesn't work. And he didn't work for two weeks, and the unemployment people sent him a debit card that had about four hundred dollars on it.

Where is the other four hundred dollars for the other week that he didn't work?

They hang on to the first week until you qualify for four or five weeks, and then they send you the money for the first week.

That doesn't make any sense. He's out of work now, the bills need to be paid now. But whatever.

So then he worked a week and then he worked half a week, and then he didn't work for a week and applied again.

And then his password didn't work or something. He had to call someone. He had to wait on hold forever.

And then they tell him that if you don't apply for a couple of weeks you have to start over again. So he has to wait another two weeks and apply again, etc....

Okay, that almost four hundred dollars that he was supposed to get for that first week, it's just gone.

So if he files again for this week that he didn't work, he will qualify, but they won't send him that money until he has been on unemployment for four or five weeks, which he won't be, because he is supposed to work half of this week and half of next week, etc....

So he's never going to get paid, except when he is not working for two solid weeks, and then he will only get paid for the second week. The first week that he doesn't work he will never get paid for unless he doesn't work for a whole month.

It's like, a scam.

Anyway, we are overdrawn, and he missed a car payment and an insurance payment. The car insurance has to be paid by the tenth. We will have some money by the tenth, but we aren't sure how much. There probably won't be much left after the car insurance is paid and the overdraft is taken care of. He might not even have enough money left to go to work that half week next week.

Of course, if he declines to go to work, he won't qualify for unemployment.

6 comments:

dmarks said...

"he finally learns that the reason he didn't qualify is that he said he was not available to work"

The wording on the Michigan question about this is not the best, it is sort of misleading.

"Okay, that almost four hundred dollars that he was supposed to get for that first week, it's just gone."

Not necessarily. I think that you are entitled a certain amount of weeks of unemployment payments. So I think the way this works, is if you are not paid for that week, that's one more week available to you if you need it later.

Ananda girl said...

Yikes. Sounds frustrating.

Up here, they make you go take classes on how to find a job. If you don't, you get cut off! The classes are silly. You circle things in the newspaper and use their phone to call to see if you can apply for it.


Then you have to get an application, fill it out and make a photo copy of it to prove that you applied.

It used to make me mad because it would cost me so much in gas to drive to the next down everyday for the dumb class that I didn't need. I've never understood why I could have just copied my applications as proof and mailed them in or dropped them off a week's worth at a time.

But I suppose it did get to be so annoying that you got a job out of self-defense.

laughingattheslut said...

Dmarks, the money is not being paid to us, whether or not it still exists on some computer. He will never get paid for that first week, so the money is gone as far as us being able to pay bills with it. And they will not pay for last week, when he did not work, unless for some reason this week or next week's schedule is canceled. They are just going to reset the thing every three weeks and never pay him anything, until maybe Christmas when everyone will be out for about a month.

For us to get paid, the company would have to go out of business or something. And while all of this is going on, they are still hiring new people. That is why no one else is scheduled full time, because all the new people have the good accounts.

laughingattheslut said...

Ananda, do you have to take classes every week that you get paid, or just when you first start filing for unemployment?

dmarks said...

Yes, that money might possibly only appear if your state does things like Michigan, and you max out your unemployment weeks and need one more. A big maybe. It's all pretty confusing.

That really sucks about the new people having the good accounts.

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