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'Decades of Anti-Government Politics' Blamed as 1 Million+ in US Still Waiting Months for Jobless Benefits

Originally published at http://www.commondreams.org/news/2021/01/05/decades-anti-government-politics-blamed-1-million-us-still-waiting-months-jobless

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PANDEMIC + INCOMPETENT GOVERNMENT = STRIFE.

Who will be held responsible?

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Excellent piece.

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The workers can be put out of work, outsourced, downsized, and subcontracted out. Then you have no money, and no resources as government balks.
The millionaires and billionaires off shore, buy up cheap real estate, hide money in trusts etc. They lose nothing while we potentially lose everything.

My job changed to “self employed” a couple years ago, so I thought I didn’t qualify for the six months I was unemployed, but when I found out I did qualify under pandemic rules, I applied in June. After waiting weeks, I got a call from the employment dept. saying they were processing my application, and needed clarification. The forms make no sense for self employed people, and the instructions on the web site were contradictory, so I had made my best guess. The person on the phone was nice, but I had to explain my situation so he could change my answers to whatever makes sense to their non-functional computer system. At the end of the call, he said he was forwarding it for continued processing. I never heard back. I got contradictory automated emails on the same day a month or so later, one saying keep waiting, never send a second initial application, and another saying they think I should have used the regular form instead of the self employed form, and to send another initial application. I tried calling and they won’t answer their phones. I tried emailing and they won’t answer their emails. I sent a snail mail letter and they won’t respond to that. I’m still waiting.

I had almost no income all year, because the time I was working was for a contract that hasn’t been paid yet. I’ve been living off my retirement savings.

My taxes will be interesting if I have work this year, and my unemployment benefits show up as well as my contract payment, so it will look like I made two jobs worth of income.

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Also, I can’t say it was a shock, but it was definitely disgusting to find the state employment department is clearly set up to waste the time of people who apply for benefits, to make them scramble, to put all the burden of the process on them. The purpose could be to prevent all but the most clever and persistent to receive what they are owed. I did get the impression there was a moralizing component to the system, as if the state officially doesn’t believe you are really trying to find work, so they try to keep you busy working as many hours as possible on their dumb forms.

I also have some experience with other state computer systems, and I wouldn’t assume the computer problems are due to being “out of date”. It could be that’s the problem for some departments, but I’ve heard about super dumb computer changes caused by shady contracts with software vendors. They impose irrational systems on the employees at the bottom, who are literally prevented from doing their jobs, and blamed for the shortcomings of the computer system. Vendors then charge the state more money to fix their bugs by calling bug fixing “enhancements”. Dumb middle managers who don’t understand computers or what their employees do are making these decisions. The employment department could have managed on paper by now, if there was anyone left who remembered how they used to do it before computers.

As to these lesser $600 dollar checks, they only make sense if more checks are in the offing down the road.
We are in the height of a pandemic, and irresponsible people are aiding and abetting the continuation of the virus.