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

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