Thursday, April 30, 2009

The unemployment office ruins a good mood

I woke up in a good mood today — had a productive Wednesday for an unemployed guy, the new day held promise — but that changed after my first of two trips to the Idaho Department of Labor office in Downtown Boise.

I was forced to go there because the online claim-filing system is not Mac compatible. I thought I had all the documents I needed, but when I went to file my first claim, their computer informed me that I needed the last two years of my wage history and a few other bits of information I had left at home.

Okay, I can handle that — probably my mistake for not reading the fine print before I left (being able to get into the system from my computer would have helped). But upon my return, with two years of wage history accompanying me, I soon found out that I needed my entire wage history for my freelance work and most recent job at a corporate newspaper. That meant data going back to 2004 and 2005, respectively.

Instead of going home to get it, I was told by a human to estimate my gross earnings. So I did that. And I haven't cross-checked my estimate yet, but I'm pretty sure I was in the ballpark. If not, and I happened to guess low, they'll probably put my claim through intense scrutiny, accuse me of fraud and I won't see my first check until 2017, if ever. 

As nice as the Labor folks are, and as spoon-fed as most of the information is, the process is still a horribly convoluted and misinforming one. It took 45 minutes to file my claim — way longer than it should have — and that's with pre-registering all my contact and employment info a few weeks ago to avoid shitshows like today.

So yeah, that good mood? Vanished. I'm just about done brooding, but if this is what I'm going to have to go through each week for $364 (pretax, mind you), it's going to be a long half-year. 

I might as well beg for change. I hear that's a good gig.


  1. NOW that you've registered, and should have a pin number, try from your mac and see if you can file your weekly claims from home. I told you back in April you have to register there and once that is done, you can update weekly from home. Please try, for your own convenience and sanity. If it doesn't work, I hate to say it, but it might just be you....KIDDING!

  2. I tried again, didn't work! I got the same stupid error message. I even downloaded Firefox and tried that. I'll try again this week, but I'm not holding my breath.

  3. I feel really bad you're having so many problems with their site. I'm sorry. I was so frustrated when I tried to register and couldn't...the thought of not being able to do the weekly thing from home would probably send me over the edge. Unemployed Mac users shouldn't HAVE to go to the unemployment office just because of our computer preference...THE ONLY PREFERENCE as far as we're concerned. Like we have the money to put that much gas in the car to get there.

    All of us mac users should send a letter to the head of the Dept. of Labor to complain that they need to update their system so it's user friendly to all of us tax-payers. What's the point of being online if only a "select" number of people can use it?

  4. I agree wholeheartedly. In addition to venting on this blog, at some point I am going to write the Idaho Department of Labor or talk to someone about a variety of issues, including the Mac problem, the conduct of their representatives and the convoluted claim filing process.