Thursday, January 29, 2009
The State of the State of Unemployment
No, I am not unemployed. The new job is going all right as I am still in training. What this post is about is the incredibly whacked out unemployment system (a real oxymoron) that exists in Michigan. What prompts this rant? The story began with the good news of a new job and the leaving of the lower paying part time job. Yesterday I called the unemployment system right on my bi-weekly schedule to claim benefits for the last week of the old job and the first partial week of the new job. The automated call began with the usual question: Have you begun work? (Answer was "YES"). Next question: What was your first day of work? (Answer was 1/21/09). So far, so good. The next question: Did you quit any job, refuse any job offer, etc? (Answer was "YES"). This was the kicker question and answer. The call proceeded through the usual ten minutes worth of information, only to end with "We are unable to issue a payment at this time. Please call xxx-xxx-xxxx and select "Inquiry." Well, I went slightly nuts at that, but in fairness, I did what I was instructed. After being on hold, bounced off the call, on hold, bounced again, and on hold (total time was 45+ minutes), an agent came on the phone and I assumed (WRONGLY) that we could straighten out this snafu. She said, "We are not assisting any more clients today! Please give me your SSN and we will call you back tomorrow." Now I was seeing red! After wasting about an hour by this time, I was told that they were through for the day? EEK! So, I told her that a return call would be difficult since I am WORKING FULL TIME! (DUH!). I asked for a call back after 5:30PM. Today, at almost 6:00 PM (with no call), I called them again and got put on hold for several minutes. Finally, I got an agent and I thought (WRONGLY AGAIN) that we could resolve the issue and get the payment released. I was told that since I had answered that I had quit a job, they would hold the payment pending a four to six week investigation. I tried unsuccessfully to explain that in order to accept a FULL TIME job at a HIGHER hourly rate (and thus get off the public dole), it was was necessary to quit the PART TIME LOWER WAGE job. She wouldn't budge, so I asked for her manager. I was told, "She's gone for the day, but if you leave your number, I can have her call you first thing in the morning." Um, what part of WORKING FULL TIME did she not hear? So, now I will have to play their game and maybe - if I am lucky -- I will get a payment in 4 to 6 weeks, during which time I will have to make those biweekly certification calls to the automated system to keep a claim active that should, by rights, have been closed this week. This is government service (another oxymoron!)? Ah well, maybe my creditors will be happy when I tell them to send me a bill in four to six weeks! Yeah, right! And that is the state of the state of unemployment.
Posted by Old Pastor at 6:50 PM