I have been broke for about 4 weeks now. Having depleted my initial unemployment claim and two extensions, I now have to apply for a final, 20 week extension. As a condition of this I must agree to submit applications to at least three OPEN positions per week (as if I can find three open positions here), and accept any job offered at minimum wage or above. To this I agreed, I am more than happy to accept any job.
Here's the problem though. I submitted my application for this special extension of unemployment benefits on July 1. I was supposed to be able to file claims within 21 days, that being the amount of time necessary to get my name into the system. Twenty-one days from the First would be July 22. July 22 has come and gone, and still I could not file a claim.
So, I took myself down to the unemployment office this a.m. to find out why I can't get my claims filed. I have a very understanding landlady, but I'm sure she is more frustrated than I am. Not to mention we're short of food on a regular basis.
The woman at the local unemployment office could not explain why I wasn't in the system yet, and assured me that if I just give it time, it will happen. That's when I asked for the phone numbers for HQ in Indianapolis. As it turns out, the first number I had was worthless; I got the usual automated runaround. The second number I was given, though, gave me an option to speak to a representative. After being on hold for about seven minutes (not too bad, considering), I was able to speak to a live person. I explained my situation, and was assured that if I just gave it time, it would happen. So, if you're following along, I waited seven minutes on hold to be told the same thing I was told at my local unemployment office. Wow. We're making progress now.
So, what does one do when all avenues for recourse are dead ends? In my case, I go over their heads. I called 411 and asked for the offices of "My Bitch" Mitch Daniels. I asked the gentleman who answered the phone at the Governor's office if I could speak with Governor Bitch, I mean Mitch, and was informed I would have to make an appointment. So I asked to leave a message. The gentleman then transferred me to a young woman who was, as far as I can tell, chief message-taker to the Governor. This time, when I asked to leave a message, I was able to. This is the message I left with the young lady:
"Since I filed for an emergency unemployment extension on July 1, and the 21 waiting days are over and I still am unable to collect any benefits, kindly let Mr. Daniels know that he should expect about 4 rooms of furniture and 3 more occupants in the Governor's Mansion, since he can now care for my family." (I swear on my mother this is true.)
That seemed to generate some activity. I was transferred to the Governor's liaison for Workforce Development, who got my information and assured me that she would do what she could for me.
When I was done with this conversation, I didn't really expect much. I mean, I'd been told twice, "Just be patient, it will happen". What was the Governor's liaison going to tell me? "Be patient, etc...." Except within five minutes I received a call back from the very same woman telling me that by tomorrow I should be able to file claims. It still remains to be seen, but I'm betting that this time I'll get some action.
The moral of this story: ALWAYS go over their heads. You might piss people off, but if you really want it done, talk to the people with influence.
I still won't vote for Daniels. But at least I got one good thing out of him.