I remember when I was on unemployment and on state medical aid I had two very contradicting feelings:
1. I was very, very grateful that the systems were in place and that I could have something. Unemployment wasn’t much but it was enough to help make ends meet (family was there also, as was my church). The medical was great – we didn’t really use it (birth of a daughter, but we had to pay $2,000 to the state for that) but it was such a relief to know that if something really bad happened we would be taken care of.
2. I was extremely frustrated at the amount of reporting that had to be done to actually get the benefits. Weekly reporting to the unemployment office, and regular indepth reporting for medical benefits. I understand that they deal with scammers and frauds all the time, and they need to address that, but we felt like we were the bad guys when going through the reporting process. It’s already a humbling, embarrassing time, but the state employees didn’t do much to make it easier.
Eventually we got off of unemployment and we got off of the medical aid (early). The reporting process was just too much… Even though it was nice to have those safety nets, it was too close to BIG GOVERNMENT getting into my personal affairs.
Again, I know they have to deal with frauds all the time. But I didn’t like feeling like they thought I was an abuser, a fraud each time I had to go through their processes. (maybe this was just my own insecurities… I didn’t do anything wrong during those times. If you don’t know what I’m talking about I invite you to go through the process :)).
Here’s a story a buddy from Mexico sent me about the dark side of unemployment checks. An unemployed lawyer has a blog… she put google ads on her blog, and the unemployment office punishes her by “greatly reducing” her unemployment checks.
The unemployed lawyer was making about $1 each day, or $30ish a month… and unemployment felt she was doing too much.
One of the great ironies of unemployment – we are here to help you, but once you start to help yourself we’re outta here! Not on your feet yet? Well you shouldn’t have tried to stand on your own, sucka!