Day 20:The Great Paper Chase

April 21, 2011 at 12:16 am (Uncategorized)

So, on Tuesday, April 19th I received some letters in the mail from the Virginia Employment Commission (VEC). The first letter confirmed that I had made an unemployment claim and advised me that I would qualify for $162 a week in benefits for 25 weeks. That totals $648 a month. I live in a small, rural area in Virginia. After 7 years, I made the princely sum of $10 an hour and bonuses that averaged $350 every two months. Not counting bonuses, that means I grossed $1,600 a month before deductions. I keep reading in the news and hearing on the television all of these people who make statements like, “If they would quit paying people unemployment they would be forced to go look for a job…” I may have even been one of those ignorant souls who thought that way at one time, but believe me, NO ONE can live on $648 a month. $648 a month is not an incentive to stay at home and veg out in front of the telly or internet, no way no how, people who say things like that are just completely ignorant.

That was the first letter. The second letter was a form that requested information from my doctor to verify that my absences were medically necessary and that he had requested that I take a medical leave for my condition. The funny thing is the letter is dated 4/14, the day that I applied for unemployment, but I did not receive it in the mail until yesterday, 4/19 and they want to receive his documentation by 4/22 or they will close my claim. How realistic is it that a doctor is going to fill that out and get it back to them in that amount of time? So, I drove the 35 miles one-way to my doctor’s office to ask him to fill it out. He was at lunch, but his secretary promised to give it to him. She then informed me that after today he would not be back in his office until Monday. So, I have no idea if he will get it filled out and faxed before the deadline, and I feel lucky that at least he wasn’t gone all week. So, I am crossing my fingers and toes that he completed it and got one of the girls in his office to fax it and that it is received in time.

The third letter had my “code” or “pin” so that I can begin reporting my job contacts each week. I must have two a week, and Sunday is the last day to report, so, since I didn’t receive it until Monday, last week did not count, and the first week that you report is your qualifying week, so it doesn’t count, so this week won’t count for benefits either, so next week will be the first week that I can report, and then it will be the following week for the benefits to be paid for that week. So, I might have my first $162 deposit by May 8th, five weeks after loosing my job, and three weeks after taking the initial steps to apply for benefits.

All I can say is, thank goodness I am married and have a spouse I can live off of until I am employed again. I know that is a horribly chauvinistic thing to say, but if I was single I would have already starved by now. It is sad that “the system” is seemingly designed to “kick you when you are down” at every possible opportunity.

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