We are currently living in a very volatile economic time. Personal and business bankruptcy is at an all time high. The rate of foreclosures continues to rise, regardless of what the press may be trying to convey. More people are getting unemployed every single day. Those “in the know” steadfastly claim this is not a recession. If it isn’t then I do not want to experience a recession.
I happen to be one of the statistics that have contributed to the bankruptcy figures, the foreclosure numbers and, unfortunately, the unemployed rate. I have worked my entire life; from the age of thirteen I have always had a job of some kind. I never lost jobs; I just improved my situation and “upgraded” at my own choosing. I was unemployed only once before in my life and that was when I was attending college. Even then I participated in what was called “work-study”; I tutored, cleaned science labs and did other menial tasks to help with my schooling expenses. I have always been employed.
I believe that is the case for many of those people who are in the same situation I am currently in; bankrupt, foreclosed upon, unemployed. Financially, our hands are tied. Vocationally, it continues to get more and more difficult to expect any relief. Personally, we tend to slip further and further into an irreversible slump.
I happen to be 61 years old, walk with a cane and am overweight. I don’t present much of a dynamic image when I walk in for a job interview. I still have all my faculties and I still know all the information I once knew, but I am not that 30 something, college grad that is eager to prove himself. I just don’t spark any more. That is why I have become dependent upon unemployment.
I am too young for social security and too old to expect to be hired for any position that would prove to be nearly as lucrative and challenging as those I have held in the past. I don’t hold that fact against the hiring organizations. They know what they want and regardless of any legislation, they will get exactly what they want. I think they should as well. They shouldn’t have to hire me just because I know the answers. If the 30 something college grad, who is full of fire, knows the same answers, he should be picked.
That still doesn’t help me. I remain unemployed.
I am hoping to remain eligible for unemployment until I at least reach my minimum retirement age, which is 62. If I can make that milestone then I will have no complaint. Until then, I will continue to depend on unemployment.
When I talk about how to apply for unemployment benefits, I am speaking only for the state of Michigan. That is where I come from and that is the only one I truly know the workings of. Since unemployment is actually a federal program though, I believe most of the things I speak about here, should be transferable to your state.
Let’s say your regular benefits have been exhausted. In Michigan that means you have drawn unemployment for anywhere from 14 to 26 weeks. There is a calculation you can do, but it is detailed in the “Handbook for Unemployed Workers” so I won’t duplicate that calculation here. If you had a pretty decent job though, you probably qualified for a full 26 weeks, I did.
For drawing my unemployment checks I opted for automatic deposit; simple and clean. I also qualified for benefits using “MARVIN.” MARVIN stands for “Michigan’s Automated Response Voice Interactive Network.” You can do everything related to unemployment through MARVIN.
You can either use MARVIN through the telephone or on-line. The process is the same but on-line it seems to go quite a bit faster; you don’t have to wait as MARVIN speaks all the instructions and questions to you. On-line you can read everything at your own pace. I chose the on-line method.
You have been assigned a day of the week and a time of that day that you can call in to qualify. This is another reason for choosing on-line, you can qualify any day and any time, 7:00 AM to 7:00 PM, if you use on-line.
When you qualify through MARVIN, either via phone or on-line, MARVIN will tell you how much you will be getting within the next two business days. When that amount falls below your regular amount, and you have not done anything to create a reduction, then your benefits are running out; it is time to file an EUC or an EB claim. EUC stands for Emergency Unemployment Claim and EB stands for Extended Benefits.
I am going to speak to only the on-line method to file for extended unemployment benefits. Partly because it is the easiest and also because free computers are always available at your local Michigan Works office. So even if you do not have your own computer you can always get access to one.
To file an EUC or an EB claim first log in to www.michigan.gov/uia. This is the Michigan Unemployment site. Besides providing links to qualify and to file claims, this site is full of resources for the unemployed Michigan worker; use it.
Once you are on the Michigan.gov page, read down the choices in the middle of the page until you get to the one that reads; “File an EUC or EB Extension,” click on that link. You will be brought to an informational page. It explains what requirements you must meet in order to file a claim. Basically you qualify if 1) You are not working full time 2) Your benefits have been exhausted 3) You filed your original in the right time period and 4) You have no benefits rights from another state or Canada.
Based on my experience it appears that the EUC claim will occur first. When and if that claim runs out you will still be able to file an EB claim. You can file an EB claim if you meet all the EUC requirements, plus you have not been disqualified before.
After reading though the explanations and the information, click on continue at the bottom of the page. You will be taken to a very simple on-line form. Just fill out the form, several pages of short, simple input blanks, then click on submit. Your claim has been filed.
Right away you will get a confirmation email giving you a confirmation number and information on what to do in the mean time. It includes things like updating your resume, visiting a Michigan Works office and the same requirements you faced when you first made an unemployment benefits claim.
In about 7 to 10 days you will receive, via post, a “Determination of Benefit Entitlement” letter. This will inform you of whether or not your claim was accepted and, if so, how much you will receive. It also tells you how many weeks have been allowed. Usually, this is 20 weeks. What is interesting, if any of your payments have been reduced because of a delay in your applying, your first check will pay you retroactive to the date listed at “EUC EFFECTIVE.” You have nothing to lose.
The application process is very simple and definitely not complicated. If your benefits have run out or if they are soon to be exhausted, you owe it to yourself to try for the extension. With the way things are going who knows how long the extra funds will be there?