Jan 10, 2006
The Unemployment Follies
After much searching, I finally found and called the number for the "Katrina disaster unemployment" months ago...(after, of course, filing and being rejected for "ordinary" unemployment....twice....)
I understood *that* rejection, because of my being a teacher and all...seems, as I found out from fellow teachers and my friend Joan, who is the head of finance at a school, that federal law (or something equally mysterious) does not mandate that schools pay unemployment...but I digress...)
My fellow newly unemployed teachers (thanks Katrina) had informed me that although we weren't eligible for "ordinary" unemployment, we were eligible for the disaster unemployment. What they failed to tell me is that they had all received it from their evacuation to other states
(note to self: try to evacuate to *any* freaking state but Louisiana next time.)
First try at FEMA ended with the suggestion by the FEMA worker that I "Give up teaching." She told me motherly, "You know Burger King is offering, I think, a big sign up bonus!"
"Uhhhh....." I didn't quite know what to say then.
She then gave me the single best piece of disaster advice I got.
"You know, next time this happens" She told me, again motherly. "You really ought to evacuate out of state. They really helped us out there in Texas."
This was the sum of my help by FEMA.
(I'm not making this up)
The other FEMA person I talked to was more brusque. "We don't have disaster unemployment in this state." He tells me, when I point out those very words with a box to be checked off on the form he gave me, he ignores it.
Turns out he was lying...or just ignorant...or both.
There *is* disaster unemployment here in this state. I just don't know what hoops one must jump through to get it however.
Anyway, after calling the super secret "disaster unemployment" phone number
several times a day for weeks, only ever getting a busy signal, by some miracle,
I finally lucked out and got a real person. Can you believe it??
I answered all of his countless questions....then he stumped me with the very vital (???) detail of "my former place of employment's zip code." Ummm...Like I would remember that offhand. Hell, I don't even have a pay stub left. That's a long rotted mass of papier mache now.
Anyway....while maniacly looking for it, the bastard hung up on me, which
initiated another day's worth of calling....and finally, miracle of miracles...
I got through again.
I filed with the woman who answered this time. (Believe you me, I knew the zip
code this time)
"We'll be sending you something in the mail shortly," she told me chirpily.
Oh yeah, they sent me "something" in the mail shortly all right.
It was yet another rejection letter.
It was *so* frustrating...and all for 90 dollars or so a week I think. I mean come on.
So, I've ended up with what I started with....squat.
Oh, postscript to this saga...yesterday what do I get in the mail, but a note from the unemployment office informing me about the tax I owe on the "unemployment" I never got. How's that??!!
By the way, they didn't even get the address right on the envelope.
Sorry for the rant, but I can't tell you how frustrating it all has been. Argh!