The Labyrinth of Unemployment (Insurance)

The longer you work in production, the better you should become at filing for unemployment, right? Wrong.

I can file. I can order office supplies. I can organize a cast list and a crew list and a non-confidential cast list. I can email out call sheets and schedules. I can keep inventories. I can crafty shop. I can read a screenplay about as fast as R.L. Stine can write a Goosebumps book. I can show up early. I can stay late.

But goddammit, why can’t I file for unemployment?

I eventually get it right, but on average, it takes me about 2 1/2 practice runs before I make it through the system. This doesn’t even count my first attempt at becoming a ward of the state, back in 2007, when my ineptitude was so bad that they eventually just called me, since I couldn’t be trusted to properly fill out a form, sign it, and return it on my own.

What the? Wait. What?!
I need unemployment-GPS.

I’ve been told that the prime time to call unemployment is the Wednesday afternoon after you receive your last check. Apparently, the unemployment peeps are most accommodating then. (Wednesday = Doughnut Day?) I tried that, but I got so frustrated sitting on hold that I hung up. Maybe this is why I’m so bad at this. My patience drops precipitously when dealing with any government agency. Maybe watching Ghostbusters as a kid pre-disposed me to be wary of any and all government bureaucrats. (I’m talking to you, Walter Peck.)

So far, so good. I made it through the labyrithine online system and have received confirmation that they got my application. Hoping to get my first check soon. Fingers crossed.

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6 Responses

  1. Dear The Anonymous Production Assistant,
    Neat Post, It is hard to open a newspaper or watch the news and not be aware of how many people are in jeopardy of losing their job. More people than ever before are forced to turn to unemployment insurance. What once seemed to be a horrible stigma is now an everyday occurrence for your average citizen. If you are about to apply for unemployment insurance for the first time follow the steps below to make this process much easier.
    Nice One!

  2. I have certainly been through the ringer with unemployment. The latest being that they claimed I filled out my continued claim form wrong and therefore no longer eligible to receive unemployment. I tried calling for days, I googled all the tips etc. the only thing that worked was calling the vietnemese line and pressing the same numbers I had memorized from the 10,000 tries on the english line and then waiting until someone picked up. It only took 5 mins. I apologised for calling that line but explained the situation and got all the answers I needed. Give it a shot!

  3. After the application is received, there’s a ten day waiting period (which is sometimes more like six) before you get your first card to fill-out and return, and then another ten day period (actual ten days) before you get your first actual check.

    So the time between filing and getting your gubblemint cheese is usually about 16-21 days. And the first check, is usually for one week, then the next check is the back pay for the weeks just after you were unemployed.

    That’s been my experience. I have no reason to believe the experience is consistent from one applicant to the other, though.

  4. I gave up on calling in a long time ago in favor of registering on-line. That too is a pain in the ass — you need to enter a LOT more detailed information when filing on-line — but I find this preferable to sitting there hitting the speed-dial button over and over again, then wading through all the audio-robot cues before finally reaching an actual human voice… and much of the time, having the robot hang up on me anyway due to an overload of incoming calls. That experience always made me want to kill somebody with my bare hands.

    The on-line forms can be filled out at your own pace whenever it’s convenient for you. It works for me, but most of my fellow unemployed work-bots profess to hate filing on-line.

    Different strokes for different folks…

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