February 26, 2009

A Tale of Woe

So, I promised to tell you my tale of woe, and so it shall be. I've never been on the dole before, so I had really no idea how it all works, but my Assistant Manager, Jenny, did a little internet research right after we found out the theater was going to close (the owner called me at home on a Monday to tell me that Thursday would be our last day of operations. Nothing like advance warning, right?). Jenny said we could apply for unemployment online, so Friday morning, bright and early, I tracked down the web site and signed up. Then I waited. I checked the site frequently for progress. I read the "handbook"--which was about as helpful as those instruction you get to put together fake wood furniture, those "instructions" that obviously had originally been written in Korean before being translated into Polish and then into French and then into Swahili and then into English--and waited some more.

After about five days, something happened. I had a "status"! Hurray! It was "suspended". Huh.

I read the handbook again. I checked the site FAQ. No place was there any mention of a status of "suspended". In fact, I found a listing of possible statuses and none of the four were "suspended". Huh. I waited some more. Nothing changed. I tried calling their 800 number to ask for an explanation, but the line was always busy. Always. I tried emailing my question--and got an automated reply saying they were two weeks behind on answering their email, and that I should call their 800 number. Wow! These guys were helpful!

Meanwhile, Jenny had passed her mandatory one-week waiting period, was filing her weekly vouchers online, and had one week's benefits applied to her we'll-mail-it-soon-and-you'll-get-it-in-ten-days Visa Debit card. Huh.

Finally, after calling fruitlessly for the thousandth time, there seemed to be no other option. I would have to go to the unemployment office in person.

(Cue dramatic music). Four cubicles. One person calling numbers to help applicants. Eight people drifting around in the background not calling numbers or helping applicants or doing much of anything, apparently, to earn my tax dollars. If this were a business, it would be out of business.

To sum up, the payroll company that reported my wages to the state had entered my social security number incorrectly for 3 of the 4 quarters of 2008, and thus to their computerized knowledge I had only worked for the first quarter of 2008 and was therefore ineligible for benefits. After driving home to get my W-2s for the last 2 years (and getting to wait to be assisted again) the drone state employee acknowledged that I seemed to have actually worked the whole year, so they would set their "auditors" to "investigating"--which should take about two weeks.

That was two weeks ago. Jenny has gotten her Visa debit card and three(?) payments. I am still "suspended". And they still haven't answered my email.

Posted by Susie at February 26, 2009 10:43 AM | TrackBack

Next time you go back, bring a flamethrower. Tends to make bureaudrones more helpful, it does.

Posted by: Harvey at March 5, 2009 02:18 AM