My promised update on the Unemployment Entitlement program

entitlement programsHere it is 2+ weeks since I filed for unemployment secondary to my former employer retiring and my job ending. I promised that I would blog on the process of applying and try to figure out if this program is legit or failing us. Granted, its only been 2+ weeks but I already see things I’m not impressed with.

My last day of employment was Jan 31 and I applied Feb 1 for unemployment benefits. I did not file a claim on the 3rd of Feb., as I basically had worked 4 full days in that week prior to the end of my job. Because I hadn’t filed a weekly claim on the 3rd for benefits, my claim was automatically closed. Forgive me for not appearing bright, but why should I have benefits for the week I had actually worked the majority of. This, is obviously my #1 issue with the system. If I’m understanding them correctly, think how much money the system could save if they actually determined benefits for days not worked vs a week of benefits when in fact I had worked 4/5 of that week.

I went online the second week to file my weekly claim and was told by the phone tree response system that my claim was closed and that I had to call in and re-open my claim. I did as instructed and once I found out which option to select,  I left a message for them to call me back as there was a 45 minute wait. That was a plus as I really didn’t have time to sit and hold the phone for 45 minutes, waiting to speak to someone.

Received the automated phone call when it was my turn to speak to an actual service representative. Thank God for human interaction as after a few minutes with her answering questions, the claim was re-opened and she went over and above and helped me file the weekly claim. I did voice my concern about applying for benefits for the first week as I really didn’t think it was right. She didn’t have much to say in response to that, which I expected as she was only an employee and hadn’t written the law.

Two days later, I received a letter in the mail stating my claim had been re-opened and that it would be “3-5 weeks before they would determine my case and not to call prior to, as they were very busy.”  Yes, this is my #2 issue with the system, if you hadn’t guessed. This comment in writing blew me away. When and where in the real world (non government jobs), would anyone owning and operating a responsible business, get away with telling customers that they wouldn’t have a response on their benefits for 3-5 weeks or longer, as well as not to call them as their system was busy. Do they realize that its our tax dollars that pay for their jobs?

I found their response letter to my claim re-opening, simply amazing, especially since as prior business owners for 35+yrs., we had to have our payments for unemployment insurance (for our employees) in on time or penalties attached. Didn’t matter if you didn’t have the cash flow to cover, you had to find a way to pay it and on time. Also didn’t matter if you were overly busy, you still had to take the time out to get taxes prepared and paid on time. Why is it that the government sponsored jobs don’t have to operate by the same rules as us out in the real or private sector?

The requirement of applying/looking for 3 jobs weekly isn’t impressing me either. If a person really wanted/needed a job, you would print up your resume, dress professionally and hit the streets; knocking on any doors related to your former occupation. I am doing as instructed and have been applying online through their worksource resources, in addition to local resources, but I feel the human factor of being face to face with a potential place of employment is much more powerful than the online method.

Like I pointed out at the beginning, its only been a little over 2 weeks. They are not batting 100 at this point and I do hope things improve and  my faith is renewed. I will continue to do as I’m told so that I’m using the system as designed, so watch my future blogs for any updates on the process.


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