Two months ago my company reduced my hours to half-time and started paying me half-pay. They did this to try to avoid laying me off during this not-so-great economic time. Not long after, my good friend Apollo informed me about California’s WorkShare program. WorkShare is a division of the EDD (Unemployment dept.) and it allows employers who reduce their employees’ hours (instead of laying them off) to apply for partial unemployment benefits.
In my case, because I was reduced by 50% I am eligible for 50% of what I’d normally earn on unemployment. Normally I would receive $450 per week if I were completely unemployed. Under WorkShare I am eligible to receive $225 per week. That’s about $1000 per month which will definitely help me survive this downturn and reduction in pay.
Enter the bureaucratic nightmare that is the EDD. My company enrolled in the program in mid-February. I got my initial paperwork from the EDD around that time informing me that I’d been enrolled (which is apparently different than processed). Every two weeks my employer and I submit a form listing the details of my continued part-time employment. I have dutifully submitted these forms since mid-February.
About a month ago my coworker started getting her weekly checks. I still haven’t received a single check. So, I’ve been calling the EDD/WorkShare for the last couple of weeks and leaving voicemails trying to get some answers. Then the voicemail option went away completely. A voice simply comes on saying they’re too busy to take my call, please call back some other time. I’ve been redialing this entire week.
Today I finally spoke with someone — the one person who deals with WorkShare new claims. It tuns out that my personal claim was only processed and input into the computer as of this week!! Now, they’ve had it on their desk since mid-February and are just getting around to inputting it into their computers? Okay, I can probably buy that. Times are tough and I’m sure a lot of people are applying for this program. I’m an understanding person and can empathize with some clerk staring at a ceiling-high stack of papers waiting to be entered into the computer.
Here’s where I got pissed off… It turns out that the New Claims Department (where I sent my initial application) is completely separate from the Continuing Claims Department (where I send my weekly updates). And the Continuing Claims Department is apparently much more efficient at processing their paperwork. So, all of the weekly update forms I’ve sent in for the last 6-8 weeks have been rejected because the New Claims Department hadn’t yet processed my file. Thus I didn’t exist in the system and the Continuing Claims Department had to void and return each of my weekly update forms.
UM WHAT?! ‘Scuse me? Hi: Right Hand, meet Left Hand. You’re attached to the same damn body. You work in concert with each other. Figure this mess out and FIX IT. Just FIX IT.
And, wasn’t there only one person working at the New Claims Department? Could it be that hard for that one person to talk to the one or two other folks working at the Continuing Claims Department once in a while? Never mind, I don’t think my temper can handle the response I might get.
Because I have no power over the bureaucracy of the California EDD, I have to fill out the weekly forms and resubmit them. I have only a slight hope that this will actually work.
Also posted on Loganotron.