The Unemployment Proceedings

For those of you who are unfamiliar with unemployment, go you! Okay, that was a bit facetious. Let me go back to how I was originally going to word that… 

For those of you unfamiliar to it, unemployment and gaining unemployment can be a bit of a task all its own. It’s a bit like working the system to try to get the unemployment checks to begin flowing in the first place. And I find myself feeling a bit like the squeaky wheel as I try to make this take effect in my own little corner of the world. 

I can only speak for my own state’s proceedings, but it’s a bit of a process. Let me break it down for you. 

First: you must apply for unemployment insurance. It’s best to do this as soon after you are laid off as possible to insure you’ll have the least lag time for processing, even if you’re going to be receiving a severance. I received a severance of one month’s pay from my employer, for which I am grateful but which has unfortunately run out. The application in my state can be done online, over the phone, or in person at the local unemployment office. 

Fun fact: All separated employees get a separation notice from their employer if their separation is due to a layoff. Whether your employer files it with the unemployment office and whether they happen to file yours away is a totally different story.*

Second: You must go through all the hoops your unemployment agency sets before you, whatever those may be. In my case, it’s a simple matter of certifying that I am a) applying for at least three jobs that I qualify for on a weekly basis, and b) submitting this “Weekly Certification” on the specific day dictated by the last digit in my SSN. This allows for proper processing of those phantom payments I’m supposed to be receiving. Also – my unemployment agency requires everyone to certify for all weeks of unemployment including those weeks during which the candidate may have been receiving severance. Guess you have to jump start your job search… 

Third: You must get used to waiting. For a co-worker of mine that was laid off the same day as I was, it took her several weeks to iron out an error she had in her processing. She called the 800# (which we all know is always effective) several times only to receive the automated response that there were no technicians available to speak with her and to try back later. Really?! No hold time, no nothing?! Just try back later?? She eventually found an email address and sent an email to help resolve her case. It still took her until the beginning of September to begin receiving unemployment pay, and we stopped receiving severance August 15th. 

For myself… it’s been a confusing ride. The same co-worker from above told me that she never had to send in any information after submitting her application for unemployment insurance. Our company had submitted the separation notices to the unemployment department, and they had everything they needed. Furthermore, she added that she’s been unemployed in this state twice before and has never had to submit any additional documentation for a claim. 

Interestingly enough, when I got no resolution to my claim after completeing my application, I called only to be told they didn’t have my separation notice. Really? All right then. It was faxed to them the very next day. This was September 17th. Following that, it took me until this week to call back to find out if they were planning to process it anytime soon, and it was my turn to get the “please call back another time message” on the 800#. Luckily I had spoken with a kind woman the first time who gave me her personal number at the main office. So I called and left a message with her for confirmation of my processing after submitting an email to a generic claims email address I found online. 

I mean, I’ve only been unemployed since July. In theory, this should have been processed in August. Especially since it appears my company submitted all the separation notices of every separated employee at once, and I’m guessing the unemployment department misfiled mine. 

I received a call back within ten minutes of leaving a voicemail saying that after checking my information, she had forwarded the separation notice my father sent to the adjudication department and that it was being processed and should be completed shortly. Of course, there was no indication how long that could take. The next day, I received an email saying my information had been forwarded to a manager to get a decision on my claim soon. One would think it shouldn’t be that hard, right? 

Oh well. It would be really nice to get all the backpay I’m due before my wedding, though. That’s all I’m saying. 

– RaeNez

Oh my stars… has it really been this long since I posted? 

If June 5th was the last time you heard from me, I apologize. Let me just say that my life has only changed drastically since then. And it’s been insane planning a wedding in the meantime. I mean, weddings aren’t even my thing, really. But I’m highly tempted to become a wedding planner as a result of all this madness. 

You’d think being a wedding planner would be easy, wouldn’t you? Or even just planning a wedding would be simple. I mean, I would think getting all my ducks in a row would have been simple. But things changed for me, my friends in the blogosphere. 

As of July, I have been unemployed. 

That’s right. I’m one of the many who were unfortunately laid off in recent months. While I can’t claim it’s due to rising insurance costs or anything quite so dramatic as that, I can say I and seven other of my co-workers were laid off the same day in July. It was sudden, and I’ve never experienced anything like it. In short: it sucked. 

Since then, it’s been a battle. I still haven’t gotten unemployment pay even though I’ve gone through the process of applying for it, attempted my three-jobs-per-week application process and weekly certification for my state’s unemployment requirements, and have submitted all the paperwork they requested of me. I finally received confirmation they submitted my claim to a manager to try to determine why it hasn’t completed processing. Considering the fact another woman who was laid off the same day as I am has been receiving her unemployment pay since the beginning of September, it would be nice to know what the hold-up has been. 

As you can imagine, it’s been marginally stressful as a result to plan a wedding. Or to look for jobs when I get no responses. It’s been joyous fun. 

I did finally order a wedding cake (or four) this week. Total cost: $310. 

So I think that puts me below the average on wedding cake costs. And I’m getting 4 different cakes and 50 cupcakes. We should definitely be set for all my cousins who will eat their weight in cake and my papaw who will definitely not limit himself to one slice of cake. 

I get to pay the remainder of my flower cost this week. It should only be $100 because we’re sticking with our original plan, and I already paid the deposit of $25 earlier. So my flowers are only $125, which is also below the average cost of wedding flowers from what I can tell. 

That’s good, right? 

I haven’t even begun looking at programs. I don’t want to think about having to design a program after having to deal with the wedding invitations. That was enough of a pain. But I suppose it is what it is. I should go ahead and design them in any event, even if I don’t print them. I have several “Special Thanks” to add to them now that people have come out of the woodwork to help me with my wedding. 

My cousin offered to play the piano and harp at my wedding ceremony for free. She’s an amazing musician, which means this is a fabulous deal. I’m very excited about it. I guess it will be kind of a fun turnaround since I was her flower girl when she married. 

At this point, I’m thinking it will be a miracle if I get through all the remaining preparations and get to a wedding, though. I’ve got tons of masks decorated and still need to do more. I need to sand, prime, and paint wooden dowels to glue to the masks that the wedding party will wear. And I need to complete my DIY gifts for my bridesmaids and decide what else I can gift them since I feel a bit inadequate about what I’m giving them. 

It doesn’t help that my savings has dwindled swiftly in the last few months. 

I suppose that’s what happens when you’re unemployed and can’t find a job. 

When I get home from the honeymoon, I may just become a waitress and work 50 hours a week. That way Fernando won’t feel so badly about being in school. I feel awful that he’s always so busy anyway. I want him to be able to finish school in a semi-timely manner, so if I work more, he can school more, right? 

I think this can work. Perhaps you’ll soon see my Cubed posts becoming waitress posts, my friends…

But before then, you’ll see some wedding thoughts. (I think I’d make an excellent wedding planner at this point. It’s all about being the team leader when there is no real team and creating one from nothing. I think I can handle that.)

Well, that’s all for now… I shall return to tell you more about weddings, unemployment, and why DIY projects are not for the faint at heart soon. 

RaeNez