Sunday, December 14, 2008
States in a bind over unemployment insurance funds
Recently, President Bush signed legislation to extend unemployment benefits for seven weeks everywhere, and up to thirteen additional weeks in states with 6% or higher unemployment. The "Jobsearch About" ("Alison's Job Searching Blog") link is here.
But many state unemployment funds are becoming insolvent, and will need federal loans to keep paying benefits. Jennifer Steinhaus has an article today (June 14) in the New York Times, “States’ funds for jobless drying up,” link here.
After the 9/11 attacks and 2001 recession, as I recall, we had a full 26 extra weeks extension. I was in Minnesota then. I was told by my employer that unemployment benefits could not start until severance benefits finished being paid out. That may be true, but the rules literally said you were supposed to file for benefits right away. Your benefits were reduced by income from work if you had a part-time job (or were reduced by severance until it ran out). You also could not work more than 32 hours in a week, but you had to look actively for a full-time job. It turned out that if you delayed your “protective” filing until your severance ran out, you might collect more, because you could collect for 12 months or to a maximum amount, whichever was less.
There were rules against turning down jobs. So it was better not to interview for an “interim job” that you really didn’t want. There could be paradigm problems. Let’s say you had worked as a computer programmer in life insurance. You would logically apply for other programming jobs, which had become weaker during the 2002 recession (as they may again, although it sounds like I.T. has become more complicated to assess this time around – see my “Information Technology job market” blog. But perhaps opportunities for commissioned insurance agents could increase, because in some recessions sales (commission-based) jobs still increase. You don’t feel temperamentally like a salesman. (I don’t, as I’ve explained on other entries.) Do you have to interview for “peddling” or “hucksterism” jobs anyway?