Anyone that has never filed for unemployment – let me tell you – it will take 6-8 weeks before you hear anything. Don’t try to call in. 4.5 minutes of on hold recordings will end with the phone system hanging up on you. Forms that are dated the 15th – arrive to you on the 21st and you are expected to have returned before the 23rd. But not to worry – there is a fax line provided to expedite the service. The problem is that it always rings busy – even at midnight. Yes – I tried. Forget your password? Want to call the help line listed on the website? It rings busy too. Want to go handle things in person? Simply go directly to your local unemployment office as directed in your letter. Please note there are no posted hours on the door. You will need to stand in subfreezing temps starting at 7:45 for doors that apparently can only open at 8:31. Take your best coat/gloves. Think you succeeded b/c at least you are first in line? No worries – the charming person at Desk 1 will turn you away proclaiming that you are to wait on a letter of determination via mail. Need to certify for unemployment even though you aren’t receiving payments? Schedule 20 minutes so that you can repeatedly hit the 2 key to answer 1200 questions that do not apply to you. Calling from a cell phone? Make sure you have strong signal – or your claim process will be screwed up if the call drops. Eligible for COBRA coverage? It is fantastic until the company that was supposed to deduct $200 from your primary checking account takes out $1600 instead. Please note: dealing with a company to get your own money back into your account will take 5 phone calls averaging 37 minutes each, 10 days, 4 letters, 3 different customer service reps, 2 supervisors and 1 overnight package. In addition to clawing for your own money to be returned to you, while awaiting the magic determination of eligibility of unemployment (also money that already belongs to you), you get to work closely with your bank to handle the financial fallout for the temporarily missing $1600. If you are born under a lucky star as I seem to have been, this mishap will be perfectly timed to occur immediately after you have made all of your monthly payments including mortgage. All I can say for the roller coaster of unemployment is, who has time to look for a job? Being unemployed is a job!
Update: money returned, bank was amazingly helpful and IDES finally agreed on Feb 12 that I was indeed eligible for my own money (claim initially filed on Jan 5).
Word to the wise - we’ve all been told to “save for a rainy day”. Trust me - when you are unemployed – it will be monsoon season. We need to be Harder2Kill financially too.