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Forum Post: Unemployment Benefits Resolution

Posted 3 years ago on Nov. 11, 2011, 4:58 p.m. EST by TrevorMnemonic (5827)
This content is user submitted and not an official statement

In all honesty I think that people on unemployment should have to do some work helping the city in someway. This could potentially save money on city expenses as well as supply benefits for the unemployed. Even though a majority of people use unemployment for legitimate reasons, I cannot deny that some people, a small percent, do take advantage of the system. I think requiring some levels of community service would benefit the community as well as the unemployed and it does away with the oppressor's ability to call the unemployed "freeloaders." It's a win for the cities that have high levels of unemployment and it's a win for the unemployed who require extended benefits due to a shitty job market.

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17 Comments


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[-] 2 points by powertothepeople (1264) 3 years ago

They are supposed to be spending their time looking for work and indeed, they have to submit documentation of their job search every week or two.

If their time is spent on "make work" tasks to make others "feel better" about unemployment benefits, how are they supposed to find work?

In addition, in NY and NJ we pay a dedicated unemployment insurance tax.

If I am out of work thru no fault of my own, I don't expect to be treated like a welfare recipient. I would be collecting benefits from a fund that I paid into like an insurance policy, get it?

I think it is amazing that working people in this country are being demonzied. Forcing them to do "community service" like prisoners do is insulting.

[-] 2 points by setton (43) 3 years ago

Yeah, okay, but then why not pay them for the job outright? Even at part time, they could probably still make the same as with a benefit check, and if they are on unemployment, maybe they are also participating in other programs like HEAP, Food Stamps, and Medicaid (though not all are). I'd rather have the job and get paid the same as I would make off the unemployment benefit, even if it meant I still had to participate in other social service programs for the moment, because it's easier to get a job when you already have one (don't ask me why...) and also I'd have something to put on a job application other than "unemployed" for however many weeks/months. Not to mention that the whole purpose of unemployment insurance is to give you time to look for a job in your field hopefully making a similar wage so you don't have to be on any social services. If you have to work to get your unemployment insurance check (which you pay into while employed) and also look for work at the same time, I don't know, it seems to defeat the purpose of unemployment insurance in the first place, and if states were allowed to do this, what would stop them from laying off/outright firing people (so they don't have to pay benefits, sick days, vacation, retirement) and have the people on unemployment do the job? Fire one person at full pay, save on their salary, benefits, retirement, all of that, and have three people receiving unemployment do that job? If a job needs to be done, someone should be hiring for it, even if it is a part time or temp job. Plus I don't think city/state unions would ever allow that to happen. In my opinion, the people who should be doing "community service" are the ones sentenced to it and people who volunteer their time out of personal charity. If I'm on unemployment because I lost my job in a bad economy or even a good one, it's my duty to look for a job while collecting unemployment insurance, in fact, it's my job.

[-] -1 points by TrevorMnemonic (5827) 3 years ago

Because unemployment benefits are based on your previous income level. I didn't necessarily mean like real job like working a counter at the DMV or being a secretary for the mayor, because people have those jobs. And if positions need to be filled they can apply for that job opening. I mainly meant different levels of community service and working with foundations and charities.

[-] 1 points by setton (43) 3 years ago

Still don't agree, sorry. I am all for charitable works, but they cease to be charitable when people are forced to do them. People draw on their unemployment insurance- which they've paid into with each paycheck earned- because they've lost their job, period. I'm supposed to be looking for work, that is my only responsibility while drawing on these benefits. However, if you voluntarily do charitable work while being unemployed, it can be used on a job application or resume, that's a good thing, it may help you get a job, who knows. I just don't agree that people should have to work in order to receive unemployment benefits that they are entitled to, entitled because they have paid into a system that is designed to help tide people over for a certain amount of time should they lose their job. To me it would be like having to do some sort of work to receive your Social Security benefits- you've already worked and paid into the system, now you are in a position where you need to draw benefits. Has it suddenly become a stigma to be unemployed in a bad economy or even a good one? When will the unemployed have to wear a scarlet 'U' in public? I know that's an exaggeration, but still- if you lose your job and have paid into the system, why should you have to work additionally to receive those benefits you have every right to? I think it is harder to cheat the unemployment benefit system than it is to cheat welfare or medicaid or food stamps because people can have cash jobs and so on paper it looks like they have no income or significantly less than they have, but while receiving unemployment, you have to look for work or you don't get the check. You have to have references, real places of business with a real contact person you've spoken to that can be followed up on. In my opinion it is hard to fake all that, five days a week, week after week. Frankly I'd rather have a job! And then add to that 'forced labor' and when do you have time for your family and other responsibilities? I simply don't feel that people who receive unemployment should have to work for it because they have already paid for it. There is always going to be a segment of people who will look for ways to cheat any system- I've seen it up close many times and it bothers me to an extent but people are who they are. Oversight of these programs is the answer to preventing fraud, not forced labor of any kind.

[-] 0 points by TrevorMnemonic (5827) 3 years ago

It's all good man. I have a job now but I've been unemployed before. I didn't qualify for benefits because the owner of the business I worked for committed tax fraud and didn't pay payroll taxes. But I would have been willing to do something during those 2 months, instead of spending down my savings. Not everyone qualifies for unemployment. You have to look at it from that perspective too.

[-] 1 points by setton (43) 3 years ago

I hear you- I lost my job once because the small business I was working for downsized even smaller and only took a few of the employees- nearly everyone was let go. I didn't qualify for benefits either because according to the system I hadn't worked enough hours per week, even though I had worked there for five years but just under half time, which was kinda ridiculous because the business wan't even open for 40 hours a week, no one there worked more than 20 hours a week, including the owners. It's rough going and can be demoralizing, but if I am reading your original post correctly, only people actually receiving unemployment would be doing this "charitable work" anyway, so neither one of us would have gotten anything out of it anyway, right? I mean except if we wanted to do charitable work in between the time we lost our jobs and found others. Best of luck to you.

[-] 0 points by TrevorMnemonic (5827) 3 years ago

I meant the word UNEMPLOYMENT... not the definition the government gives it, which is people who who have 2 quarters of full time work to be averaged out if and only if the job they worked with paid payroll taxes. It would be for anyone who is actually Unemployed.

Also I didn't mean 40 hours or anything. Obviously people would need time to look for work.

[-] 1 points by setton (43) 3 years ago

Okay, I guess I don't understand then- your post title is "Unemployment Benefits Resolution" and it goes on to say that "...people on unemployment should have to do some work helping the city in some way.." which would seem to imply that only people already receiving unemployment benefits would be required to do this work to get these benefits, which I disagreed with. Am I reading it wrong? But then "...requiring some levels of community service would benefit the community as well as the unemployed" and "It's a win for the cities that have high levels of unemployment and it's a win for the unemployed who require extended benefits due to a (poor) job market." It seems the main gist of your post is that it would 'look better to other people' to have those who need to be on unemployment for extended periods (or any period) of time doing some kind of charity work- it seems to point to people who are receiving benefits. Are you saying that people who are unemployed and don't qualify for benefits for whatever reason, such as your employer committing tax fraud or mine not providing me enough hours per week to qualify (even though we both paid into the system while working) should be able to have an alternate program where a few hours a week or so of charity work is done (while also looking for paid work) in exchange for unemployment benefits? Because if that's what you meant, I'm all for that, as it gives people the option to get temporary assistance without having to go to TANF or something like that. I don't think people who qualify for benefits should have to do that, but if you can't qualify for benefits, it's fine. Your original post doesn't come across as it would be a program for those who don't qualify for benefits. Sorry if I offended you or missed your point, but if you re-read your original post, it says nothing about people who are unemployed and not receiving benefits. If I am still not understanding, I do apologize and mean no offense to you. Have a good evening.

[-] 0 points by TrevorMnemonic (5827) 3 years ago

No semantics games please.

[-] 1 points by setton (43) 3 years ago

Okay seriously, I didn't mean to offend you, but you were not clear in your original post, I apologized in good faith, I'm no troll, I'm not playing semantics games, I clearly misunderstood what you meant and still do, apparently. I think everything I wrote was valid- no, in my opinion I don't believe you should have to work in order to receive unemployment benefits because you've paid into them. I conceded that if you could not qualify for unemployment benefits for whatever reason, your idea about doing charity work in exchange for those benefits was one I could get behind. It's an open forum, people respond to posts, that's how discussion gets going. I've been polite in every post I've made in this thread and on this forum and return to it because I care about what's going on and want to be part of the conversation. I guess in this matter we disagree, I have nothing against you personally and am truly sorry if I've offended you, but truthfully, if I posted a solution I thought was a good one and someone disagreed in a polite manner I would just agree to disagree and move on, which is what I am going to do now. I have no interest in making enemies here or anywhere. Best of luck to you.

[-] -1 points by betuadollar (-313) 3 years ago

I've been there and I tell ya what; there isn't a rat's chance in hell I'd ever accept a two year unemployment. I'd rather clean bathrooms or push a broom than do that.

[-] -1 points by TrevorMnemonic (5827) 3 years ago

If I was unemployed I'd be okay with helping my city out on something. Charity work or something.

[-] -1 points by newearthorder (295) 3 years ago

I completely understand why some people say they have been unemployed for 2 years, because they can't find a job in the field their diploma was about. But, I gotta tell ya, it doesn't wash with most people.

In 24 hours I bet I could find you a dozen jobs. They might not pay more than $10-$15 a hour, but it's better than nothing, and it should be better than collecting unemployment for 2 years.

Unemployment should never pay more than one year. For the first six months you should get a reasonable amount that covers your bills, $400--$500 a week, and you should be required to attend a job/interview skills workshop,...maybe 2 or 3 hours a night 2 or 3 days a week for 5 or 5 weeks. The second six months you get half that amount. You might have to get a job at McDonald's, but hey, at least your working, right?

Work is always better than not work.

[-] 1 points by owschico (295) 3 years ago

if I'm not making at LEAST 15 dollars an hour full time I'm loosing money by getting a job. We should focus on the real problem the out of control spending and the credit card called the FEDERAL RESERVE

[-] 1 points by setton (43) 3 years ago

It's the second part of the problem. My father worked for a printing company for 25 years until they decided to move their base of operations to WI and keep only 8 of 800 workers. My dad's been there 25 years, he has a house, a car, a kid in Catholic school, plus a diabetic wife who has always been a SAHM (though during this time she did work a part time job for a bit). So yeah, no one could ever accuse my father of having a poor work ethic- aside from this time of unemployment I have never known my father to be absent from work unless he was too sick to phone in himself. Sure, he probably could have gotten a job, any job, within days or weeks, but after 25 years and the plant closes and it's no fault of my dad's, why should he lose his unemployment and take a job at McDonald's or as a Walmart greeter? He still needs to pay the mortgage, the car, all of the other bills PLUS pay for private heath insurance for a family of 4 where one has a serious pre-existing condition- McDonald's and Walmart aren't going to dish out those benefits, after all... Yes, my dad collected unemployment, but we were never on public assistance, my dad had money taken out of every paycheck earned so if in the event he lost his job, he'd be covered, so he was. I was young then and don't remember exactly how long it took for him to find a comparable job, but it was at least 6 months to a year, and if he had taken any job just willy nilly, he'd have lost everything he'd worked for over 25 years, and we would have definitely ended up on public assistance outright, due to my mom's medical condition. So I do think there is some merit to staying on unemployment while looking for a comparable job- doesn't have to be exactly the same, but it is sometimes the case that to wait for an offer that meets most of your needs- house payment and medical would be what he needed most (and got)- kid could go to public school, no problem, we could have bought a used car if we had to (no public transport where we lived). I just think it's too simplistic to say, well, within 24 hours I could find you a dozen jobs... That's fine and also true if you're unemployment is running out and still have not found a comparable job, but you never know what a person's life situation is- you can not judge people who are on unemployment just because they still have nice things- maybe they were bought beforehand? Or for continuing to live in a house where there is a mortgage payment... I'm sure if you looked at the way we lived while my father was unemployed, you'd have thought, what's wrong with that guy, why can't he work? You can't accuse someone of cheating the system without having walked a mile in their shoes. Perhaps if my mother hadn't been ill it would have been different and my dad might not have held out for so long and just took any job that would cover the bills. In his case, the benefits were more important. Without those we would have lost everything anyway. All I'm saying is don't make sweeping generalizations about people who receive unemployment. It's not a crime! You pay into it! I sometimes think about that time in our lives and wonder what it must have been like for my dad psychologically, after working hard for so many years at a job and being uncertain if he would find another, seeing his wife go to work when she'd never worked a day... all of these things can demoralize a person and that can hinder their ability to motivate themselves every day to get on out there and keep looking. I commend those who do, and I would never judge anyone unless I knew every single circumstance of their lives, and even if I did, still not my place to judge anyone.

[-] 0 points by audiman (90) 3 years ago

I like the idea of doing city work while getting benifits. Also, there is a price for collecting benifits for 99 weeks and beyond. To folks doing the hiring, if someone has been out of work for so long, it looks like they are not trying. At all! If I was an employer, I would not consider someone who has been out of work for so long. Has a lazy look. Why not get a little job while you are looking. Wal Mart will hire you.

[-] 1 points by setton (43) 3 years ago

Because if you "get a little job at Walmart" you automatically lose your unemployment, which can at times be more than what you would make if you took that job. If you've worked in a long term job with a reasonable salary with or without benefits, if you have things you're working towards, perhaps you're in the middle of a mortgage, you're raising kids, and everyone has bills… I don't think a person who is qualified for unemployment should be forced to do volunteer work for the city or to take a low wage job just to get off the unemployment rolls. If you are single, live in an apartment, have no kids and no debt, this might be a good thing for you, but if you've put years into a job (as in my dad's case, 25 years) and are suddenly unemployed in the middle of your life, I don't think you should have to settle for the lowest rung just so you can say you have a job. 99 weeks is a long time to be on unemployment, I agree, but you won't receive it if you're not looking for a job. If the city has work that needs doing, they should be hiring for it, not forcing people who have paid into unemployment insurance to do it… nothing wrong with looking for work during the day and perhaps improving your skill set at night to make yourself more marketable. It's not because you're lazy that your company shuts down or downsizes and takes only 8 employees out of 800 with them to their new location- my dad couldn't have even moved out of state with the company if he'd wanted to. I didn't say always, I said sometimes staying on unemployment while looking for a comparable job is the better option. Even if my dad was willing to default on everything just to 'have a job' it still would not have helped due to my mom being ill, we would have been more of a burden on society that way rather than him doing what he did, being on unemployment/using savings for almost a year while looking for a comparable job and finding one, otherwise we would have been on medicaid at least, which would have cost the taxpayers more, so which is the better option? It depends on one's circumstance, which you have no idea about unless you've gotten to know a person intimately.