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Why Does The Government Have To Make Things So Difficult?

Why does claiming unemployment have to be such a royal pain it the tuckus? The government just seems hell-bent on making it a royal pain, especially if you have unconventional circumstances (read on for full story).

My brother-in-law was one of the 185 workers that was furloughed by Columbia Aircraft a couple weeks ago. It was a job it took him weeks to get in the first place because he is permanently disabled with secondary autism. He (and his parents that he lives with) had to work with the Oregon Dept. of Human Services Vocational Rehabilitation office to help him find that job (which he's had to do for pretty much any job he's had). It's a chore to get my brother-in-law work, but it really benefits him when he does (he's much less stressed when he has a routine that includes a job). He can only really have repetitive, routine jobs (like factory work) which makes things more difficult.

As part of the temporary layoff, he was eligible for unemployment benefits. Since he's not of a mental state to fill out forms and file claims properly, his family did it for him. We filed his first claim online, and he was denied because he was not pursuing work, even though he is (while he'd rather not have to go to a new job, he is applying, just in case). For one reason or another, he was denied his claim. Since he cannot call the unemployment office, and his father was out of town, I volunteered to call the office and see what was going on (having all of his pertinent information in front of me).

After 30 minutes of being on hold (which I was doing at work, mind you, so I could easily bill them for that time), "Kathy" picked up the phone. I explained my situation, and she told me that she couldn't help me because they're not allowed to discuss claims or payments to anybody other than the person. I wasn't about to lie, because it was already on file that my mother-in-law had talked to the office about this issue so I'm sure there's a red flag on his account. So I flat-out said that he is permanently disabled and unable to have this conversation with you, which is why I'm calling -- let me talk to somebody who can help me or tell me what I can do to allow me or some other third party to handle his claim. She put me on hold. Five minutes later, I was hung up on.

So 40 minutes later, nothing was accomplished. I called back, and the automated system said that the estimated wait time was 30 minutes. Considered that last time I called and it said 10 minutes but in reality took 30, I decided to forget it.

I talked with my boss, and she said that, as far as she knew, if he was in a temporary layoff like this that he wasn't required to look for work for 29 days. This is a stark contrast to what the woman at the employment office told my in-laws: that he had to apply for four jobs a week or he'd be denied benefits.

My father in law got home about 30 minutes after I'd called, and they called Columbia, and apparently this has been pretty common -- they've had many employees who have had issues like this. So they're calling the employment department, and the rep that worked with my in-laws from the Oregon Dept. of Human Services Vocational Rehabilitation is going to call some people he knows down there as well. So hopefully this will get resolved.

But the question has to be asked: Why do they make things so difficult? He's put in more than enough money to cover the measly $280/week he'll be getting, and the amount of labor they wasted denying his claim (and subsequent time spent by outside parties) could've easily have covered the check. But they insist on making things complicated, requiring time to be wasted for many people.


Posted by Jake on 04/02/07 @ 04:20 PM
Posted in Local, Rants | Permalink

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