3.03.2009

Latest Dilemma

Yesterday, and a week later than I should have (I think), I tried applying for the second phase of my application for unemployment. The first phase is to establish an account. Then, they send you paperwork saying certain weeks are ineligible for payment because of severance or vacation time. They also send you a pin number to access your information and a card through which payment can be transferred to you. This all happened smoothly and without incident several weeks ago.
Yesterday, as I said, I tried to begin the second phase, "application for payment." I've been actively looking for a job (a requirement for payment) for the last two weeks, so I am applying for payment for those weeks. The system has two ways to do this - online and on an automated phone system. I did the first and got the statement that a claim under my SSN did not exist (BS and I have the paperwork to prove it). So, I went to the phone system which had a different error message: "You have no open weeks to claim at this time." What does that mean?
The only way to resolve this (and I've looked everywhere for an online alternative) is to call during business hours and talk to a person. The only trouble is, the line is always busy. It started being busy five minutes before they opened and has been busy the dozen or so times I've called in the last hour. I tried calling the other help number, for outside the Denver Metro area, but got an error message saying that number could not be reached from my calling area (the Denver Metro area). So. Now what? Keep calling, obviously, but how likely is it that I'll get through? I have no idea. They don't even have a hold system. At this point I'd love to be on hold for an hour or two. (Seriously, I would!)
I'll also keep trying to file via the phone and computer, hoping that maybe I'm just not applying at the right time (maybe I'm offset from my proper time by a week).
I may go there in person, though I've heard you get turned away at the door.
[SIGH]
We'll see. Updates will be forthcoming.

9 comments:

Nathan said...

I've been where you are Anne. The only thing that works is to sit there hitting the redial button over and over and over again, like a gerbil going for another hit of crack. Eventually, you'll get lucky, you'll hear the phone ringing, and then you'll get to be on hold for a long stupid time.

Applying for unemployment benefits is a job!

Jim Wright said...

Um, no hold system? Not enough lines? Can't go there in person?

So, instead of actually, you know, looking for a job you have to spend the entire day chained to the phone in hopes of getting through?

Government logic. Try not to look directly into the light.

onewandering said...

I wonder what would happen if you drove out into the sticks and tried calling from a phone number that wasn't associated with the Denver/Metro area?! Do you get forwarded to McDonalds? :)

Hang in there! If I get any "lucky" points this week, I'll ask to share them with you! *HUG*

John the Scientist said...

There is logic to it, Jim. Some slackers will give up, thinking the system has caught onto their fraud.

Some legitimate seekers will find a job in the interim before they get through to the system. In either case the State saves money.

A lot of state (cough Maryland cough) Disability Insurance systems work this way too, hoping the patient will give up, have a spouse get a job with medical coverage, or die, before they navigate the system.

The default is to deny coverage, even when they know they owe. It's a crappy way to do business, but it's how government works.

For for thought for those who want Universal health care. Let's make a safety net for those without insurance, and then figure out if the government is doing a good job, or pulling more of this crap.

John the Scientist said...

Food for thought....sheesh.

Anne C. said...

Jen, I have considered that, and may try it if I find someone who is OK with me using minutes on their phone (because I assume that if I get through, it'll be to get on hold and do my time before talking to a person).

John, I would not be at all surprised if that logic were 100% accurate. And seeing how smoothly (snort) the government run programs work is one of the reasons I am a moderate and not a liberal. Look how well they run the financing of the war, and the military is one of the things they do *well*!

MWT said...

I watched a friend spend years trying to convince Social Security to start giving him disability benefits that were perfectly legit, and that he'd earned. He, in turn, watched some people go decades trying to get theirs.

The system assumes that you're trying to commit fraud, and does its best to make you give up and go away. It would rather that you died first. Sorry to hear that you get to observe all this firsthand.

Stacey and JR said...

Sorry to hear you are having problems. JR called in his first week and altho he wasn't eligible that week, has continued his 'call' schedule they gave him and so far hasn't had any problems. Hopefully, yours are just a glitch that will be worked out oon.

Karen said...

Yet another sign of the unemployment offices being innundated with seekers. Hang in there. It took me an extra 6 weeks to get my application through and approved for CAT and TB, but just yesterday got notified I've been approved. Persistance pays off in the end. For me, applying online was the answer, you can NEVER get through to the call centers here.