The Terrible Woes of Unemployment

Today I decided to look into what my benefits would be when I renewed my claim in a couple of weeks.  After talking to three different people on the unemployment hot line I was told three different stories about what extension I am on and about my eligibility.  In my last conversation I was told that my benefits may be reflective of what I have made in the last year.  I decided to look into this a little further and found an article about reduced unemployment rates due to working part-time.

So, basically here are the rules no one really talks about but you find out too late about:

* Don’t work more than 20 hours a week otherwise your unemployment will be taken away–> i.e. don’t work.

* Make sure if you do work you don’t make over 1/3 of your benefits, if you do it’ll just take away from your benefits.–>i.e. don’t work.

* DON’T WORK AT ALL, because if you do your new claim will be reflective of your new income while unemployed. However, if you don’t work at all you will receive the same amount as you did previously.

This is completely ridiculous.  All that unemployment encourages is for one to sit at home and do nothing unless a full time job actually comes their way. Had I known, I would have just sat here for the last year and done absolutely nothing.  What am I encouraged to do?  Find more part time work because clearly, my benefits will be slashed for working.  Thankfully, I’ve been saving money in case something like this may happen.  Now I may just need to start selling stuff on ebay.

What did you do today?


11 thoughts on “The Terrible Woes of Unemployment

  1. You can’t even retrain for a new field. That’s insane, especially now. I know some people on unemployment who want to work in a completely different field than they were before (which requires taking classes). If DUA finds out about classes you can lose benefits.

  2. The law was set up years ago by politicians (temporary income) in the belief that when a person wants to work they can find one within a time frame which is 26 weeks- reflecting the view of many economists utilizing full employment economic policies.

    Every states have their own guidelines for the UC and it reflects about 60% of your previous salary based on the period of salary earned during the quarter and it requires the person to be actually seeking work or working part time with income that is less than what your benefit is for the week reported if you exceed that or if you quit your job you lose it for that week As for the training in other field you lose the benefits because you are not looking in the same field of work previously done. (I know I went through that one back in the 1990s)

    In comparison Europe and other countries the UC reflects about 90% of your previous salary and much longer period depending on the countries mentioned (too many to breakdown).

    What it does not take into account the periods of high unemployment and that is covered by the Federal government in form of extensions (the most recent is delayed by demands by Republicans to reduce the deficit in order to round up votes needed to pass the legislation with 60 votes despite many economists said the extension are needed- then again it is playing politics with people’s lives that is the unfortunate thing).

  3. Linda,

    The observations made here illustrate my point exactly: Unemployment benefits subsidize unemployment. That doesn’t mean that I don’t empathize. The Globe story left out my broader point that there ways of helping people in distress (e.g., tax rebates) that don’t require them to be unemployed to get the money.

    Anyway, I wish you well with your job search. In the meantime, if you want unpaid experience we always welcome interns at the Beacon Hill Institute.


    • Thank you for your comment, David. I will certainly look into the Beacon Hill Institute. I just can’t believe that people get penalized for having a part time job. In this case, MA should just do what other states do, not allow any sort of employment unless you find full time work. This whole situation is just one huge learning experience and I will be so much me prepared if it happens again.

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