Every Sunday, before calling in to claim his unemployment beneifts, my partner had a glass of wine and would make the statement: “It’s time to call 1-800 Dial A Check”.
I called Anthony an unemployment whore. During the course of our 10 year relationship, he collected unemployment benefits at least a dozen times. He often took a new job, worked like a mule for six months, and on the first day of the seventh month, he awoke early in the morning and would say over his muffin, “It’s time to show my ass at work today. I’m eligible for unemployment again.”
“That isn’t right,” I would say.
“What isn’t right?” He asked. “I’ll never get over the time I went to the welfare office and heard a fat black woman yell to one of the workers– ‘Just shut the fuck up and give me my check.’– that line became Anthony’s favorite saying. He said it so many times and laughed hard every time.
I too have become an unemployment insurance whore. I have managed to suck up nearly 200 weeks of benefits and I feel like a slut in the current recession.
An employer, the Jewish Board of Family and Children’s Services, fired me in 2009 for “refusing to fulfill my job duties”. The Jews were “restructuring” the clinic I worked in and fired the secretary that took minutes at board meetings. They insisted that I take the minutes, but I requested “resonable accommodation” for my disability of schizophrenia, claiming that the new job responsiblities were causing symtoms of my illness to resurface. The Jews at the Jewish Board do not subsribe to the state insurance fund, which means that if someone files for unemployment, they have to pay it all out of their own tight pockets. They faught me like dogs in court. I represented myself and lost, but filed an appeal. I won the appeal and was awarded nearly $20,000 in retroactive weekly claims.
I already started a new job before I was told that I won the appeal. With all that cash in the bank, I decided to once again request reasonable accommodation at my new job. I asked that one of my supervisors, Gladys Cruz, a mouthy, fat Puerto Rican girl, stop yelling at me. That job was three months of pure hell. I have never hated pussy so much! I called a meeting with the director of human resources of SCO Family of Services and stated, “If she yells at me again, I cannot be responsible for my actions. I have schizophrenia! You’ve been warned.”
Rather than address my request for “resonable accommodation” SCO Family of Services wrote a two page termination letter, a letter of pure lies which described how I was not able to perform my job functions. I applied for unemployment and got it—all 99 weeks of it. I could only collect $200 a week from that job, but it was better than spending the money I won in court from the Jewish Board.
I learned two weeks ago that I had not claimed all 99 weeks from the Jewish Board. My payments have once again skyrocketed to $400 a week, and all symptoms of my illness have vansihed.
So what does this have to do with the price of tea in China? One may ask.
Because the appeal letter that I wrote in 2009 was posted to my blog and has gone viral. More than 10,000 have turned to me for legal advice. The letter, under the posting, “Sample Letter of Appeal for Unemployment” has made me a household name in the game of 1-800- Dial a Check.
When the checks do run out, I plan to apply for permanent disability. There are no real jobs out there anyway—just those crappy jobs with bosses who all act like Judge Judy. The workplace is no place for a queen with a pen with schizophrenia.