My last day of work was March 10th. It’s been 11 weeks.
To provide a little background, before the pandemic I was working two part time jobs. I worked as a promotions assistant at iHeartRadio events all over Chicago, and as a server in the affluent Old Town neighborhood.
Giving a rough estimate, servers who work in the old town district who work 3-4 days during the week walk away with $600- $800 a week during patio season.
While my checks from iHeartMedia were substantially lower, I was still bringing in an extra $100-200 a week working their events.
Let’s assume my average income would normally be roughly $700 a week.
Over 11 weeks I would have earned close to $8,000.
Now fast forward to today.
While unemployment benefits have been nothing short of the biggest f**king joke of 2020, I have been one of the lucky ones who has received some sort of payment from the government.
But I’ll tell you, that sh*t wasn’t easy.
I continuously attempted to certify for benefits until I reached a point where I truly thought I was going to punch a hole through my computer if I saw “you cannot certify at this time please call (800) 244-5631” one more time.
Finally, 10 weeks later. Ya girl got paid.
Instead of boring you guys with ramblings, I have put together a brilliant timeline so our readers can take a quick look at my long and extremely irritating journey towards receiving unemployment benefits.
While extremely grateful that the IRS had answered my prayers, the numbers just weren’t adding up…
When I received my UI finding, it said I would be given $235 a week from Illinois for unemployment. It was better than nothing, I’ll tell you that.
However, according to NBC News, once you’re eligible for unemployment benefits in your state, you are automatically eligible for an additional $600 a week in federal compensation until the end of July.
This would bump my weekly earnings to $835, which is just as much if not more than what I would have been making if I had been working both of my part-time jobs.
As stated before however, when you do the math for $1,422, the numbers just don’t add up.
All three of the UI Finding letters I was sent by the Illinois Department of Employment Security stated that my “benefit year begin date” was March, 22nd 2020 (even though I have only been receiving benefits since May 23).
From what I heard from other unemployed-people was that this “benefit year date” was the date from which they would start paying you.
I was under the impression from multiple people that if, for example, your benefit year begin date is April 10th, and you don’t get paid until May 8th, you would then receive back-pay for all of those weeks you weren’t paid and still unemployed.
Anyway, when you divide $1,422 by a weekly payment of $235 you get roughly 6 weeks which takes us back to the beginning of April, which doesn’t really make sense.
Then when you try and divide it by 835 ($235 state + $600 federal) you get an even weirder number of 1.7. Like, what the f**k is that?
How did they get to the number $1,422? Is that one week? Does that include-back pay? Does that include the $600 federal emergency money? Is this for one week or for two? Why did I receive a payment one week but not the next?
There are just so many f**king questions, and zero human beings to speak to to answer them.
The Illinois Department of Employment Security currently has no way to contact any member of their staff, everything is automated. Plus, with such overwhelming numbers of people filing, the website crashed weekly, if not daily during March and April.
The only way to find out if you were going to receive any money was by waiting. Either for your UI finding in the mail, or for any funds to hit your bank account.
I was told in my UI Finding letter that I need to certify bi-weekly on a specific day of the week, which is what I am currently doing.
My second certification date was this past Monday, May 25th, and things went smoothly.
For those of you who haven’t received any unemployment payment yet, hang in there! It really is a waiting game, which are the f**king worst.
Even if you get a random a** number in your bank account like me, shiiieeeet…like I said, it’s better than nothing.
If you’ve had a similar experience with unemployment, let me know in the comments. Let’s talk sh*t together.