Thursday, October 01, 2009

Do We Really Want The Government To Run Anything?

I was laid off as a teacher at the end of the last school year due to budget cuts. (Don't cry for me...I have 39 months of rehire rights and the district not only has to hire me as a sub, they have to pay me my last year's per diem to do it. Because I will work more days this year, I will actually make more money this year.)

I filed for unemployment June 18. I was granted unemployment, and filed my first claim the first week of July. My last day of work was June 17, I had to wait a week, and then I filed for the last two weeks of June. When I hadn't heard from the Employment Development Department (EDD) (that's what California calls their unemployment department) by July 22, I sent them an email inquiry per their instructions. On the July 29, a week later, I got a reply saying they needed to conduct a phone interview, and that I would receive the information in the mail. So I waited, and subbed some summer school at $20 an hour.

I had now gone a month with no income. ( I wouldn't get paid my meager sub earnings {less than $500} until Aug. 9) Thankfully, I had paid off all my debts so I only owed my mortgage and my monthly bills. I had also managed to put about $8,000 away in savings last year. (yes..I saw both the economic downturn and my layoff coming) But what if I hadn't? How was I supposed to survive for a month if I had been the typical irresponsible modern consumer? What if I was leasing a new car every other year, maxed out my credit cards, and back in 2007 I had refinanced my house to take out the $250,000 dollars in paper equity? I'd be screwed that is what, and probably pretty hungry.

Well I kept waiting. In the meantime the middle school school year began on July 28, and I began subbing for $120 a day. After 21 days this became $347.70 a day, and was retro. I have since learned that very few of the laid off teachers are taking advantage of their ability to substitute for their per diem...which I simply don't understand.

When I hadn't received my telephone interview or notice by August 15, I sent a second e-mail to the EDD. They responded on August 24, 9 days later, with the same reply they sent me on July 29.

So, just to review, I was now up to two months with potentially no employment, (I didn't have to sub, and as I have stated, many other laid off teachers didn't) and no income.

Finally in the mail, I receive a notice that I am scheduled to have a phone interview to determine my unemployment eligibility on September 22. Not only is this three months after I first filed for unemployment (and was sent a claim form) but it is a week day, which means that I have to spend a work day waiting for a phone call between the hours of 10:00 AM to 2:00 PM. I take the call. We talk for less than 10 minutes. I am informed that I qualify beginning with the second week I intially claimed, and the check would be in the mail.

Yesterday, Sept. 30, I got a check for $295.

The one thing this experience has done is to reinforce my knowledge that you cannot depend on the government for anything, and if you do, you are screwed.

I am eternally grateful to my parents that I was raised to be an ant rather than a grasshopper....but I am damn tired of carrying all the grasshoppers on my back, and pissed off at the government's attempts to turn me into a grasshopper.

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