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I had to call this afternoon to certify my unemployment benefits for the last two weeks, and I knew I wasn't going to get any actual cash because of two freelance proofreading assignments I took (which earned me almost exactly the amount of my unemployment benefit). But the "file by phone" system is devoid of nuance, and I ended up having to call the office and talk to a person to sort everything out. Our conversation went sort of like this:

"Hi, I did a freelance job, but I'm not actually working."

"So, how many days were you unavailable for work?" (Being 'available for work' is a big deal with them.)

"I was available to work. I was just freelancing."

"Did you make money?"


"So, how many days were you unavailable for work?"

"I was available for work. I was just freelancing."

At which point I think we each put down our phones and banged our heads on our desks. According to the unassailable logic of the Illinois Department of Employment Security, making any money at all is equivalent to being unavailable for work, even if you are technically free to work an 8-hour day for a real employer.

In the interests of preserving our sanity, the IDES agent and I agreed that I was unavailable for work for three days of each of the last two weeks. Even though I wasn't. So she had to go into the system and undo all the answers I gave pushing buttons on my phone, and I have to call again on Thursday and try not to fuck it up again.

Replies: 2 Confessions

But how many days WERE you available for work?

elavil @ 06/17/2003 02:51 PM CST


amyc @ 06/17/2003 05:32 PM CST

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