Annals of Unemployment, Part 3

I started a new job this week. I figured I’d collect my last unemployment check and be done with the Oregon Employment Department. Little did I dream that the OED would find one more way to fart in my face.

I usually file my claim on Sunday, and it goes into my checking account on Wednesday. If there’s a holiday that week, it goes in on Thursday. I checked my account this past Wednesday, and the money hadn’t gone in. Since Monday was Columbus Day, I figured that must be why it didn’t go in. When I checked on Thursday, however, it still hadn’t gone in. I didn’t have time to call the OED that day, so I called them this Friday morning. I was put on hold for twenty minutes, during which time I listened to the same recorded messages over and over again. (One of them said something about this being a period of high unemployment, as if I didn’t know. It’s gotten so my brain automatically tunes out when I hear these things.) Finally, a man answered. After confirming my identity, he asked me how he could help me.

“I want to know, where’s my check?” I said.

After a moment, he said, “Your check will be mailed out today. You should get it on Monday.”

“Wait a minute, why are you mailing it out? I’m supposed to get direct deposit.”

“It didn’t transfer.”

“Uh, what do you mean, it didn’t transfer?”

“It didn’t transfer. Your next check will be direct deposit.”

I had a feeling it would be futile to pursue this topic.

“I filed my claim last Sunday. Why has this taken so long?”

“There was a hold on your claim. It was lifted yesterday.”

“Why was there a hold on my claim?”

“I don’t know.”

“Do you have any idea why they would put a hold on my claim?”

“I can’t say.”

“I talked to a woman last week. She said she had set everything up for me.”

“She did. It shows it right here. You talked to her on October 6th.”

“So, why was there a hold put on my claim?”

“I can’t say.”

“Who put the hold on it?”

“I don’t know.”

At that point I ended the conversation. I can tell when I’m pounding my head against a wall.

I was really depending on getting that check this week, since the OED, in their infinite wisdom, only paid me $16 last week. I won’t get the first paycheck for my job until the 21st, so, once again, I will have to ask my relatives for money.

I spent the last six months unemployed. It was a hellish experience. Anyone who thinks people like living on unemployment is an idiot. There are people in this country who have been unemployed for over two years. How these people keep their sanity, I don’t know.

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