This is not an educational post. Instead, this is a post about discovery since I don’t quite understand President Obama’s American Jobs Act. One of the key initiatives of the jobs bill is “extending unemployment benefits further” given how bad the labor market is now. I’m in full support of this ~$450 billion dollar bill, and besides figuring out how to pay for it (crushing local governments and charities it seems!), I have the following questions:
* Will the unemployment benefits be extended for those who have already exhausted their 99 weeks? Or, is the 99 week unemployment benefits only to be extended for new unemployment recipients?
* If the unemployment benefits are extended for those who have already exhausted their 99 weeks, how many more weeks do they get?
You didn’t believe my “Shock & Awe Yeah“, 5-year unemployment benefits program had a chance to become reality did you? Well now you know the direction is true. 260 weeks of unemployment benefits is an incredible safety net that encourages people to take risks at their jobs because they won’t be as worried about going into financial ruin if they get fired. Think about all the the great innovation that will come out of people who are no longer scared. It’s great to see the government come around to mega unemployment benefits!
THE GOVERNMENT HAS SOME BIG BOOBIES
While soaking my aching muscles in the club’s hot tub one day, I met a very tan and fit girl. Nobody is that tan in San Francisco, because the average temperature year round is only 67 degrees. So I asked her where she’s been and she said 6 weeks in Bali after being let go from a job she hated at Billabong.
Of course I asked her whether she was able to get unemployment benefits while overseas, and she said por supuesto! I asked her how, and she mentioned she’d never tell. She’d have traveled longer, but was afraid her mail would pile up too high. She was also a little paranoid that the California Employment Development Department would come knocking on her door to find out she’s been gone for all this time.
After a couple of drinks in the hot tub, she finally opened up on how she could keep getting paid her benefits while not even being in the country and really looking for a job. Amazingly, it’s not too hard at all because everything is online! All she has to do is “check in”. She also gave a trusted friend all her pertinent info to check in online for her and click the main box, “Yes, I have been actively looking for employment.” After waiting 3 weeks for her first unemployment check to be direct deposited, they just start coming in ever week like clockwork.
IS IT BAD TO MILK THE GOVERNMENT, WHEN THE GOVERNMENT MILKS US?
Maybe because I was a little tipsy, I kind of felt proud of her for milking the government. The government milks us so much in taxes to just flush our hard-earned money down the drain, that it was nice to see someone get some of it back. After all, we pay into the system. It’s our money.
I’ve always thought about what I’d do if I was unemployed. It’s not something I want, or a situation I think any unemployed person really wants to be in, mind you. I’m just imagining what if and looking on the bright side. If unemployment were to arrive, I would get up at my usual 6am time and be the very first soul to stand in line at the unemployment line because I would be so excited to finally starting getting money from the government! However, as we just learned from Bali girl, everything is done online, so I can just fill out the forms in my pajamas.
After I’ve registered, I’d consider taking a three month hiatus away from searching for unemployment to go travel the world on a cruise. I would simply check in once a week online to demonstrate that I’m looking for a job. Of course I’ll search on Craigslist and e-mail some friends to see what’s out there and keep in touch to keep things kosher. However, with the internet, you no longer have to be trapped in your home to search for a job!
DRAWING FROM THE ENDLESS MONEY WELL
You think that there is some kind of limit to the amount of times you can collect unemployment, but given how inefficient the government is, I’m just not so sure. Let’s say you work for one year after college and got let go. Can you then proceed to collect 99 weeks of unemployment insurance despite only working for 52 weeks? After the 99 weeks is over, you find another job for 26 weeks until you get let go again. Can you then go ahead and collect 99 weeks, 52 weeks, or even 26 weeks of unemployment insurance again?
In Pennsylvania, if you have worked at least 16 weeks in the base year, you get 16 weeks of unemployment. If you worked 18 weeks, you can get 26 weeks of unemployment benefits though! Each state is a little different, and if you’re unemployed, simply file the claim and let the unemployment agency decide.
Whatever the unemployment case may be, I’m pleased to see the government extending unemployment to beyond 99 weeks, for new recipients and old. Things are going to get real ugly before the holidays, and we need all the help we can get!
Updated for 2016 and beyond