Monday, July 12th, 2010

I had to call the Department of Workforce Development on the phone after filing my initial claim for unemployment benefits because I ticked the “No” box after the question, “Did you look for work during the week?” Bells rang, lights flashed and a page with lots of red-letter warnings, all in capital letters, told me to contact a DWD representative immediately.

Oh, great. Now I’ve pissed off the government. And, worse than that, I’ll have to telephone them. I’ve had some trouble getting them to answer my calls in the past.

Settling in at my desk with the only push-button phone in the house (because a phone tree robot doesn’t care if you like the quaint rusticity of a rotary phone) I dialed the number for DWD. It was busy, of course. Five minutes later I hit redial and was treated to more of the same. And again, five minutes later.

On the next try I got through. I did not jump for joy. I’ve gotten through to the phone robot before this and navigated my way through the calling options to reach the representative who could best help me, only to be informed by a friendly pre-recorded voice that there were too many customers on hold just then and I would have to call back later, and then rewarded with a click and a dial tone.

And that’s all I expected as I dutifully pushbuttoned my way through the option menu. This time, though, the recorded voice told me this time that my call would be answered in the order in which it was received.

The first phase of trauma is denial: No! Really? No, not really? You’re messing with me! And so on. But after five minutes on hold, give or take, my call was indeed answered by Matt who, after verifying my identity by asking so many questions I was beginning to think I would have to keep a checklist, finally ended by asking, “Is this Dave?”

“Yes, that’s right,” I answered.

He got right down to brass tacks. “Why didn’t you look for work, Dave?” It was not a friendly question.

I explained that I made an application for the two days of the week my employment ended and wasn’t sure what the procedure was at that point. If I had known that I should have been looking for work in order to claim unemployment, I would have done it or withheld my application, and I offered to withdraw the claim I had made.

“Don’t worry about that,” Matt said, sounding much friendlier then. “You’ll get a form in the mail asking you to explain your claim. Write down what you just told me and send it in; they’ll either okay it or turn you down. Either way, it won’t hurt you.”

Easy enough.

“While I’ve got you on the phone,” I jumped in, and asked him the question I had about reporting my military pension. “According to all the published statutes I found, I don’t have to report my pension.”

“That’s right,” Matt answered.

I paused a moment to let that sink in a bit, then repeated, “I do not have to report my military pension?”

“That is correct.”

I’ll be damned. I’m not sure how that makes sense, but at least it’s satisfying to know I was doing it right.

No Problem | 3:00 pm CDT
Category: adventures in unemployment, daily drivel, work
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