Applying for Unemployment


Posted on flickr by royal_broil

On my last job, one of my coworkers asked me if I was going to put in for unemployment when my contract was finished.

“I hadn’t really thought about it,” I told him.

“You really should, ” he said.  “After all, you’ve been paying for it all these years. It’s your right. I’m going to when I do contract work after I retire.”

He went on about it a while longer, but I didn’t have much to say on the subject.

I thought about it for a while, though, and concluded that, no, I was not going to apply for unemployment.

While the extra income would be helpful, I didn’t need it and, after all, it’s supposed to be used to help those who need it bridge the gap between jobs.  I wasn’t going to be looking for another job.

For that matter, I didn’t actually need the contract job that I was working.  It was helping to pay off some debt and, while I was working, we weren’t having to use any of our investment funds.

So, since I went to work when I didn’t need to, it just didn’t seem right to me to apply for unemployment.  It felt like taking advantage of the system.  (I’ll have more on this in a later post.)

What do you think?  Should I have applied for unemployment?

beliefs, give me a break!, retirement, values, work
23 comments… add one
  • Betsy Wuebker Jan 25, 2009

    Hi Mike – I think you did the right thing. When you apply for and receive unemployment benefits you are required to spend and document your time looking for another job, as well. I find your co-worker's attitude troubling.

    <abbr>Betsy Wuebker´s last blog post..ENDANGERED SPECIES: THE EFFECTIVE COMMITTEE</abbr>

  • Vered - MomGrind Jan 25, 2009

    I second what Betsy said. You did the right thing.

  • rummuser Jan 26, 2009

    I wouldn't if I were you for precisely the same reasons. There are others who need it more than I do.

  • Jannie Funster Jan 26, 2009

    I admire you for your personal code!

    <abbr>Jannie Funster´s last blog post..Sunday May 10th 7:30 p.m.</abbr>

  • I agree. The deciding thing is you weren't planning to look for another job.

    <abbr>Jean Browman–Transforming Stress´s last blog post..Tempting Fate?</abbr>

  • Urban Panther Jan 26, 2009

    That's very interesting. As a contractor in Canada, you couldn't apply for unemployment. You have to be directly employed by the company, and making unemployment payments at the time. Contractors are considered self-employed. Or were you an employee for a set term? Just curious as to whether the rules are different between the States and Canada.

    <abbr>Urban Panther´s last blog post..The true hunters are always female</abbr>

  • Mike Goad Jan 26, 2009

    Betsy – Thanks. Besides thinking it was wrong, I really didn't want to go through the motions of looking like I was trying to find work.

    Vered – Thanks. It was easy when doing nothing is the right thing.

    Ramana – I agree that it's for those who need it.

    Jannie – Thanks!

    Jean – If I had been planning to look for a job, I could have been working the following Monday. There were contracts available in Florida and Louisiana.

    Panther – I was an employee of a consulting firm, not an independent contractor. I think that self-employed contractors would be ineligible in most states, but I don't know that for a fact.

  • Davina Jan 26, 2009

    Hi Mike. I admire your code of ethics! I've collected EI a few times in my life, but I needed the support until I found another job. I think your choice was very admirable.

    <abbr>Davina´s last blog post..This Is Me, Then and Now</abbr>

  • Mike Goad Jan 27, 2009

    Davina – Thanks. The times that I could have used it were in the very early 70s when I didn't have a clue about it. I was still living at home, though we certainly could have used the extra money then.

  • Michelle Gartner Jan 27, 2009

    Hi Mike- I wish we could get unemployment… both my husband and I are self employed and business has gone belly up since about November. My husband is applying for work everywhere now- but everyday there are more and more lay offs in our area. I feel kind of put out by people who try to rip off the government- when you are self employed you pay double taxes and you get very little in return- but the government says small business owners create jobs and we do. Only the government puts up obstacles all over the place to keeping us (small business owners) in business.

    Your coworker I won't say is ripping off the government- but let's just say it got on my nerves a few days ago when I read this.

    <abbr>Michelle Gartner´s last blog post..Vintage Toaster Bacon & High School Wrestling</abbr>

  • Patricia Jan 27, 2009

    I had to use food stamps when I was unemployed for 2 years after Graduate School and could not find enough even small jobs to keep myself going and fed. I found it very hard and demeaning and not such a wonderful experience.

    I found as a counselor that many, many of the folks on welfare or unemployment are not there for a long time and they really need the funds and that makes me happy we have the system in place.

    I find your co-workers attitude unsettling and as a self-employed small business owner, I feel it is very much like the attitude of those people who shop at Wal Mart and then will not vote in health care which will cover the majority of Wal Mart employees. So as a small business owner we pay vastly more than our fair share – we don't shop there, we shop where our sales taxes help local businesses and the folks who work them.

    This maybe more expensive to some but it feels stronger at building community to me…celebrates our values

    I think you did the correct thing I appreciate your choice.

    <abbr>Patricia´s last blog post..Pooh Patrol</abbr>

  • Dot Jan 28, 2009

    I agree with you. If you found enough work to cover your expenses, then you weren’t the intended target of unemployment.

    About six years ago when I was laid off after 18 years with the same company. I did temping and received unemployment for the days I didn’t have work. EXCEPT when I broke my ankle and couldn’t work at all, so I had NO income for three months.

    Dot´s last blog post..About Your Business

  • Barbara Swafford Jan 29, 2009

    Hi Mike – You did the right thing. Just reading your words, I could tell you knew you did the right thing, too. I commend you for your high ethics. If only more people thought the same way.

    Barbara Swafford´s last blog post..Celebrating NBOTW One Year Annivarsary With A Free E-Book

  • teeni Jan 29, 2009

    I’m glad to hear you didn’t abuse the system. I think your colleague may have misunderstood what unemployment benefits are for. Some people pay into those benefits all their working lives and don’t ever use them so I don’t think anyone should plan to use them when they really don’t need to. As someone else commented, they do expect you to document your time spent looking for a new job. So I would say this is a case where the right thing was to NOT apply for the benefits since you didn’t intend to get a new job. Interesting thoughts here though.

  • Tess The Bold Life Jan 30, 2009

    Hi Mike,

    Congratulations for not following the herd! It’s easy to stand out these days. Just do the right thing!

    Seriously I think there are a lot of ethical people we just don’t hear about them so thanks for telling us about your example.

    Tess The Bold Life´s last blog post..

  • Tess The Bold Life Jan 30, 2009

    Oh and I love the photo. I think it shows compassion. I also think there need to be support groups for those who are unemployed.

    Tess The Bold Life´s last blog post..

  • Mike Goad Feb 2, 2009

    Michelle – He’s not ripping off the government, but he sure would put in for unemployment at the drop of the hat.

    I hope that things get better for y’all, soon.

    Patricia – We were poor at times when I was growing. To the best of my knowledge, we never took welfare. It would have been hard, I think. I know several people who are like the guy that suggested filing for unemployment. In their mind, they think they are getting back what they paid in. However, it’s insurance and, like any insurance, you’re better off if you don’t have to use it.

    Dot – Thanks. Having no income must have been very scary.

    Barbara – Thanks. I think that a lot of people would do the same thing, but I know a few others who would not hesitate to apply for unemployment in the same circumstances.

    teeni – Thanks. I don’t think he misunderstood what the system was for at all. He was suggesting that I take advantage of the system and thought I would be wrong if I didn’t.

    Tess – Thanks. I, too, think there are a lot of people with the right ethics.

  • Maleesha Feb 6, 2009

    Unemployment is how many of the seasonal workers here survive. They work at hard jobs all summer long (timber, construction, etc) and then when shop closes for the winter, they live off unemployment. Perhaps they could go out and get a job flipping burgers for the winter, but many choose to file for U so at least they are collecting money during the job search. I read this a little differently than most of the others…your coworker is correct, it is technically your right to collect. But kudos to you for not taking it since you don’t really need it. And congrats for not really needing it!~

    Maleesha´s last blog post..Cardboard Signs of the Times

  • Mike Goad Feb 6, 2009

    Maleesha – thanks! I agree. In the context that you are talking about, it is the right of seasonal workers to collect it. However, there’s a little more to it in my case, which I’ll be talking about in an upcoming post. 😉

  • Rose Feb 7, 2009

    I think you did the right thing Mike.

    <abbr>Rose´s last blog post..Eight Valentines gift ideas for your Dog</abbr>

  • Mike Feb 9, 2009

    Thanks Rose! I had some second thoughts about it later, but not enough to do anything about.

  • Bob Feb 10, 2009

    Good for you! I agree, if it’s not needed and you’re not actively “looking” then you are doing the right thing.

  • Mike Feb 10, 2009

    Bob – Thanks. The job finished last August before the economy really was understood to be badly tanking. It’s even more important now not to “work” the system when so many other people need scarce dollars.

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