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Saturday, January 11, 2014

UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS


UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS

 

Well this opinion is going to get me in deep doo doo, but what the hell, that is what CRANKY OPINION SATURDAY is all about.

The following is the opinion of a cranky old man with no real insight or knowledge on the subject.  Opposing views are welcome…they are wrong, but welcome and please, no name calling and that means you, you big stupid head!

 

Congress recently let unemployment benefits for millions expire.  This will be a hardship to many, and my heart goes out to those people. 

Still.

Unemployment benefits used to cover six months of unemployment to help a person get by until he secured new employment.  Those benefits were paid for out of funds which came from workers payments to unemployment insurance.  There were fairly strict requirements that every beneficiary had to comply with while collecting his benefits.  These requirements were in place to limit fraud and assure that the recipient was actively seeking employment.

It seems now that these unemployment benefits are now extended all the way to forever.  When these benefits do run out or are not extended, we only hear of those cases of extreme hardship.  There are certainly extreme hardship cases, but should all the blame be placed on heartless politicians, or should some also be placed on fraudulent claims from workers who simply choose not to work?

Don’t go all nasty on me; unemployment benefits are in fact abused.  Oh yes they are!  If you are unemployed it is now pretty easy to claim and receive your benefits.  You no longer have to submit several employers  where you have sought employment each week; you simply assert on-line that you are still not working.

Many of our unemployed do not seek employment.  Many do not look for work until their benefits run out.  Oh no they don’t!  Many are employed off the books and also collecting benefits.  Oh yes they do!

When I was laid off from my job in 2008 after working and paying into unemployment insurance for forty years, I collected benefits.  I collected for six months and yes I considered myself to be retired.  I did not seek employment but I also did not turn down benefits which I had paid into for forty years.  I felt no guilt.  When my benefits were extended to nine months and then one year I still collected my benefits, but with a twinge of guilt.  When the benefits were extended to eighteen months, guilt overtook me and I no longer applied.

At what point are unemployment benefits detrimental.  At what point are people too busy scamming the system to seek full time employment or “work on the books?”  I don’t want to sound like a cold “Draconian Bastard,” but sometimes that unemployment check is a disincentive to work, not a safety net stretched out until work is found.

OK, I am a cold “Draconian Bastard” but I would like the news to cover the story fairly.  Follow those people who collect checks and still work off the books.  Check out how hard others who collect checks look for real work.  Let’s see a survey of how many people suddenly find employment when their benefits run out.  Too often today we are blackmailed by others… “Support me or I’ll starve…oh yes I will…try me…I will, I swear it!”

I know I am fortunate; when I was laid off I was able to retire.  If I had to seek work I could never have found employment at my old salary if I could have found anything at all.  I would have been seen as overqualified and undesirably aged. 

I have no answer, I don’t want to see people starve, but I also don’t want to see people take advantage of a system which is meant to be a temporary measure. 

If push comes to shove, I vote to extend benefits, but when does it end?  I say for now, keep the benefits going, but I don’t like it… I don’t like it one bit.

The preceding was the opinion of a cranky old man and not necessarily that of management…Mrs. Cranky.

22 comments:

  1. My son was getting unemployment benefits some years back and got them for a year. Did he work? No. Did he look for work? No. When the benefits were set to run out he started looking for a job. His words were...Why work, I can make more not working. We were very embarrassed for him.

    Have a fabulous day. ☺

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  2. i agree with everything you've said, and i don't know how to fix it, either.

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  3. From cold “Draconian Bastard" to another, you are right.

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  4. Clearly we need to create jobs. I do think that elders that have been laid off will find it very hard to get employment, hard to get training and even harder for them to move somewhere to seek employment. So, allowing them to starve until they collect social security does not make sense to me. I will end up paying for their health problems for years. I sincerely doubt that younger people are milking the system. What about military who retire early, work for another 20 years, and still collect military retirement?

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  5. Unemployment in 2014 is neither a benefit to struggling citizens, nor a benefit to the USA. I am not a conspiracy theorist, but anyone who lived in the 1960s knows that a concentrated movement to change America from capitalist to socialist was underway. The only thing missing was a pompous, arrogant, demi-god president. Now, be sure to tell your children and grandchildren to work harder so others don't have to work at all.

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  6. It's frustrating when it is possible to describe the problem so lucidly and so impossible to find the solution...

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  7. In Ohio unemployment is funded entirely by employers; it is a tax on payroll. The percentage changed from year to year, depending on the amount the state needed to collect to keep the state fund solvent. When I dealt with it I would fight a fraudulent claim to the end. Employers who deal with it now tell me there is not fighting it.
    As benefits don't kick in for a week or two I never applied; I hustled up a new job.
    It often appears to me, from their surroundings as they tell their sad story, many long term unemployed have not turned their assets into cash. In fact, when they lose their home they will be paying exorbitant storage fees for all the goods surrounding them. I look at them and think they have not done enough to help themselves. I find myself thinking that rather generally of entire groups of people.

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  8. You make good points but I've noticed amazingly long lines here in Portland when jobs open up. I know there are abuses but this shouldn't be a political issue. Unemployment benefits help the economy and have been extended in a bipartisan manner dozens of times in the past without producing a fight as to whether or not they should be paid for in advance. It is a complicated issue.

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  9. Unemployment is a huge problem here and the cause of so much crime in our country. It is a very sad situation.

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  10. America in 2014 is a place that allowed its corporations to export jobs all over the world. Now it is difficult to get any job, let alone one that pays a living wage. Unemployment in the long run is not the answer. Job creation is. But corporations have to be "incentivized" to bother to do it, and frankly they should be penalized for every job they continue to export. (And yes, I love my iPhone and iPad anyway. Life is complicated.) And by the way, I added you to my blog roll because I like your way of presenting your view, despite the fact that we will often disagree.

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  11. As a former employer I have to take issue with the statement about employees paying in.
    Here, in California, it is funded by employers.
    The irony is that an employer cannot collect because he is deemed not to have earned wages so there were no funds paid in for him.

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  12. Here in Florida, the maximum amount you can collect on unemployment is $275/week. You really can't live the high life on that. Unemployment rate is quite high around here, and in order to claim benefits, you have to apply for at least 5 jobs per week (and document it).

    I don't know of one single person who takes advantage of it. But I know of several who have been denied a few weeks of coverage because of glitches in the website when claiming the weekly benefit.

    And then a hotshot politician here said something about "paying unemployment benefits back once those people find a job." Maybe he would like to pay back his car insurance for that accident he had a claim for???

    I understand about hard-working citizens not wanting others to take advantage and "milk the system." But let me get it right...you don't want THEM to milk the system, after YOU did?

    No worries...I still like you, but I just wanted to point this out for argument's sake. :-)

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  13. As a former insider who spent five years working for the Missouri Division of Employment Security, I must echo Joanne and Uncle Skip. In Missouri, unemployment benefits come from money paid into the system by the employer. Federal extensions, however, come from federal tax money.

    Don't get me started on how folks milk the system. The biggest bee in my bonnet was the layoff of a certain car manufacturer's employees. They got TWO YEARS at 90% salary, what with their unemployment benefits plus union benefits. To get that 90% pay, all they had to do was contact their union hall once each week, and come in person to our office once each month to show that they had contacted their union hall. They were the biggest complainers EVER! You'd think that office visit would be worth 90% pay for two years. They were also eligible for any training they wanted in another field for free, but few were interested.

    All they did was whine about how hard it was to live on 90% of their pay. Did I mention that they got 90% of their pay? For doing nothing?

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  14. I agree, it's a huge problem. I have no problem helping those who legitimately can't find a job becaue of their lack of today's skills, or their age, etc. But how do you separate that "wheat" from the undeserving "chaff"?

    Here's something no one has touched on: there seems to be the idea, real or imagined, that those getting unemployment benefits are just sitting at home. Why aren't those people required to do community service?...pick up trash, pull weeds in city parks, etc? Seems to me that might get some of the "chaff" mentioned above up on their feet and looking for work. "There ain't no free lunch" as they say. Those who want to work have an incentive: their dignity. Those who have no incentive might find that doing community service for a pittance is no way to live.

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  16. I have to chime in one more time... Great discussion, btw!

    I used to agree with what Lowandslow said - seemed like a perfect solution to me.

    And then I started thinking: unemployement is much less in most states than what you used to make on your job. If you need to work for unemployment compensation in the form of community service, you might end up in the hole paying for day care, gas, etc. And what happens if you get injured while doing that? What would be the legal implications? If there is a need for the work, why doesn't the parks department just hire you then? Looking for work is also pretty time-consuming - would you still have sufficient time to search for a job?

    Sadly, I don't have any answers...just a lot of questions.

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  17. Well I was going to answer Lowandslow, but Pixil P basically said it all for me.

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  18. I've always felt that the duration of unemployment coverage should be directly proportional to the length of successive employment. Start with a 4 month base, then add a month for every year of consecutive employment but even that should require that one report every job application and require a certain minimum attempts to 'stay alive'.

    I know of several folks who play the game of holding a job just long enough to qualify then do just enough to get fired so they can get bennys for nothing. One has been playing the system for over 25 years even though multiple folks have reported it since he's technically following the rules.

    I was unemployed for 14 months and can vouch for the fact that they do not care if you apply for anything AND they only penalize you for honesty. True story- they did not make me report my job search efforts until 6 months after I found a new job! Suddenly they wanted an accounting of every application and even threatened to fine me for undeserved benefits! Fortunately I kept records enough to shut 'em up.

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  19. Sounds a lot like Australia.
    If you are no longer collecting benefits, how are you supporting yourself? Do you have private means and if you do, why did you collect benefits?

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  20. So we whine about paying those who are not actively looking, yet we don't want to make them do anything? What the....

    It just dawned on me....is this where government bureaucrats come from? Is "public service" just another term for "community service"?

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  21. Those out of work and collecting benefits longer than 6 months should do a public service in order to keep collecting benefits for another 6 months. There should be no trash on the sidewalks and streets in a city with unemployed people. I don't know, just my thought. If they are able bodied there is no reason they cannot do a public service.

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  22. for the record i was unemployed a year and a half ago. i had to submit a certain number of applications for employment each week and document it in order to collect.

    my brother has had two long bouts with unemployment due to being down-sized each time. the first time he was out of work for over a year and had submitted over 100 applications before he finally found a job.

    sure there are folks abusing the system. i can name another person in my family who did so, legally. i was fortunate in that my unemployment only lasted 4 months but at the same time, folks like my brother are not hard to find.

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