California Unemployment Benefits and Temporary Jobs WARNING
by Kyle hopes you find work
(Beautiful San Francisco)
The shit just hit the fan... I am a long-time troll of Internet sites regarding UI, now I have something to contribute. If you are trying to research whether temporary jobs will affect your California UI benefits, you came to the right place. I've been laid off from my real job since Dec 2008 and have done what I could to find and accept whatever work I could get and ration my use of my UI benefits by taking temp jobs and keeping my skills fresh. I thought I could go back to my safety net after my most recent temp job ended, but I am learning the hard way. I cannot.
I worked a temporary job at a staffing agency back in March and April 2010 where my employer withheld taxes and reported my income to the government. March is considered part of Quarter 1. I worked 2 weeks in March (and all of April) and made approx. $2,200 in March. I claimed my work at the time with EDD and felt pretty good that 1) I made some money and developed skills, and 2) by not being on unemployment for those weeks, I was rationing/extending this safety net into the future.
Now it is August 2010, after re-opening my claim after completing another temp job in June and July, my benefits dropped from $450 to $87 per week. I will only receive $87 per week until I exhaust my benefits earned from my 2 weeks of work in March (for a maximum benefit amount of $1,120. That is 12 weeks at $87, so August, September, and October! This is devastating for me and my family. Please be informed that work you perform ~6 months ago can reduce your claim when you re-open, because the benefits are calculated on earnings from 2-3 quarters prior. There is no way to speed up the usage of this benefit.
Therefore... refer to the "EDD Benefits Handbook" (Google these exact words). Before accepting the temp job, I did some research and asked around and was under the wrong impression that less than 2 months at a full-time temp job won't count against you. Well, the facts are $1,300 per QUARTER. So, if you make more than $1,300, which I easily did in 2 weeks in March, your new benefit is based off of that ridiculously low amount. Thus, $450 per week becomes $87.
To be frank, doing the right thing ended up hurting me. I am so pissed. Please, there needs to be 1) clear and more accessible information for temp job takers, 2) laws need to be reformed so that there isn't the disincentive to take temp jobs. At least I didn't make $1,301 and became "eligible" for $52 per week until I died of starvation (22 weeks). The EDD representative told me on the phone that many people are now getting screwed.
If you are like me, whatever you do, do not work 40 or more hours, and lose your claim, not even for a temporary job. Your current claim will end, and when you re-open, your weekly benefit will be reduced.
Have any of you experienced the same? What can we do about this? How do you calm your wife down after you tell her you are only going to receive $87 per week for the next 3 months?