I would like to share an experience I had yesterday:
Last Thursday I received a letter from the Washington Unemployment Insurance bureau saying that they wanted me to make an appearance at my local U.I. office with a job log from a recent weekly claim I had made. Those of us in Washington who make weekly unemployment claims are required to keep logs of our job search prospects and present them to the government bureaucrats upon request to prove we’re not lousing about while living high on the hog.
A reasonable request.
However, this is the third time I have been called in since I went on unemployment at the end of August. And I was not the only one. One of my fellows was also on his third time and another was on his second.
There were supposed to be eight of us in the group I was in. Two didn’t show, so six of us sat through the 90 minute “This is how you job search” mini-seminar while our job search references were checked. The other two will be given a second chance to make an appearance. If they fail at this, they will be denied further benefits and given a third chance to bring in their job search logs for the entire length of their claim. If they fail at that, they will be charged with fraud and made to pay back every dollar they received in U.I. benefits.
Yesterday’s jobs numbers were horrible. The came up 25% short in the number of jobs they needed to create simply to stay up with the people entering the workforce and hundreds of thousands fell out of the job search market and into the “discouraged worker” classification.
Or were they pushed off?
I spoke to the people who work at the U.I. office, and they are now doing four of these mini seminars a day to up to 10 people per seminar.
Is the government beginning to worry about the unemployment insurance coffers running low? Maybe enough that they are actively finding reasons to dump people out of the soup line?
I mean, hooray for finally getting tough on loafers and all, but damn.
There are signs posted at the front doors and conspicuously around the U.I. offices to inform people know that “intimidating” or ‘threatening” a U.I. employee is a felony. I asked the woman who ran our seminar why those are posted and she said that they have always had that sign posted in the office, but they have seen an increase in people “getting out of hand” because they are losing their benefits, so they posted more of them up so that they hopefully see them before getting out of hand.
Also, one part of yesterday’s seminar that wasn’t in any of the previous talks was a mention that “we” (meaning us people getting spoken to) didn’t contribute to the Unemployment Insurance fund, our employers did, so we weren’t collecting “money we’d paid into the system.” I wanted to mention that I could have collected those funds in wages if they didn’t force my employer to give them to the state at gunpoint, but I try to stay inconspicuous at government sponsored events like these.
Oh, and the decision as to whether I will be allowed to stop having to file job logs and count my attendance at worker retraining as my job search is still undetermined. What was supposed to be 3-4 weeks has turned into 5-6. I was told last week ago that it could be up to 8 weeks now. Meanwhile, I am still in debt for a cool $9500 so far in student loans to cover the three quarters I am signed up for (out of six I have to take to get my certifications). I am running a 3.9 GPA in the five courses I’m carrying right now, but the state still needs to determine if I’m cut out for retraining.
More when I know more.