Oregon Employment Department Strikes Again

I was terminated from my most recent position on March 16 2012 (for those of you that are counting, that’s 33 days ago) and my quest for unemployment benefits has been a comedy of errors.

1) My employer had not reported my wages since September 2011. I had a total of 28 hours in September and wasn’t eligible for unemployment benefits based on those 28 hours. My October 2011, November 2011, and December 2011 wages weren’t reported until April 9 2012, and I still wasn’t eligible for unemployment based on the last quarter of 2011.

2) I was told to call the Oregon Employment Department because the claim was not valid. The first person I called –April 13 2012–was just totally rude and snotty. I hadn’t been told that I needed to file an Alternate Base Year (ABY) claim, but this person acted like I should know all about doing so even though I’d never had to file an ABY claim in over 30 years of working. Why would I know all the ins and outs of something I’ve never done? I ended up hanging up on her because I was in tears.

3) I realized that I did need to file the ABY claim so I called back the same day (within 10-15 minutes actually) and got a nice person who walked me through filing the ABY claim. I was told that I was eligible for an ABY claim and that I should get my first check next week (this week, probably April 19 2012).

4) Today (Tuesday April 17 2012) I received a call from the claims adjudicator who was investigating the circumstances of termination. It became clear over the course of this call that the person who told me that I was eligible and that I should get my first check this week had misspoken. The claims adjudicator has not even talked to my former immediate supervisor OR the company that paid me (as I worked for Odesk, but was paid by Coretechs which is a personnel agency).

The person I talked to was not particularly nice about what I’d been told about being eligible and/or getting a check this week (and in fact she seemed to not understand that the original claim was filed 33 days ago even though I was later told by someone else that she had been monitoring my file since April 2 2012).

In her world, the claim was filed on April 13 2012 (even though the information she received regarding my termination from ME was dated March 16 2012). I don’t see how you can have it both ways, using information from the March claim while insisting that the April claim was the only one being considered. After listening to quite enough of her less-than-professional blather, I hung up on her.

5) I called back about 10 minutes later and got yet another unhelpful and somewhat rude rocket scientist who refused to understand or respond to my main question: why could they not have investigated the circumstances of my termination sometime earlier than THIRTY THREE days (yes, over a month) after I filed the original claim?

They just kept repeating over and over (ad infinitum, ad nauseum) that the claims adjudicator had ONLY (their emphasis) been monitoring the original claim (remember that March claim they don’t seem to want to deal with or even acknowledge the existence of) since April 2 2012. In my world that’s FIFTEEN days (even removing the weekends, that still leaves ELEVEN days) and all they needed to do was make a possible total of two phone calls.

My secondary question was why I was told on Friday April 13 2012 that I was eligible and that I would get a check this week. The only answer I could get from either unhelpful somewhat rude rocket scientist is that they had no idea why I was told that.

I hung up on the second unprofessional rocket scientist too (do we see a pattern developing here?)

I’m not sure who I’m angriest with, the nice guy from last week, the rude snotty lady from last week, or the two unhelpful rude rocket scientists from this week. I do know that I am sick to death of this roller coaster!

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