Net Worth Update: Unemployment Trouble

It’s been a hard week for The Amateur Financier.  Besides spending the middle of the week as sick as a dog (and having to make the six hour trek across Pennsylvania twice), I’ve also discovered that I had to refile for benefits from the Pennsylvania unemployment system.  Not to get into all of the details in this post, but the short version is that it’s been a year since I was downsized from my job in 2008, and they were still paying me from that filing with the check they sent me two weeks ago.  Unfortunately, now I’m stuck dealing with bureaucracy as the most expensive holiday of the year rapidly approaches.

There’s a lesson or two to be learned from all this: don’t count your chickens before they’re hatched.  I had been assuming that I would get a biweekly check of seven hundred some dollars, and planned my saving (and more importantly, spending) accordingly.  Now that there’s been a change in my situation, I need to change what I’m doing and try to spend much less.  The other lesson is that the government can be fickle; even when you are owed money, there are any number of rules and regulations that you can run into which will affect how much you get, and when it makes it into your hands.  Until you actually have the money in your hands, being sure to check on and follow up on government action is vital.

Anyway, enough of my travails with the Pennsylvania unemployment system; let’s see how my net worth is doing without the expected boost from an unemployment check:

Net Worth 12-12-2009A

Net Worth 12-12-2009B

Not too bad; my investments and savings stayed mostly flat, and it’s only spending that really knocked my net worth down.  Luckily, though, I should be able to keep my spending more under control in the near (and distant) future.  Until, that is, I have kids…*cue money flying away.*

4 Responses to Net Worth Update: Unemployment Trouble

  1. Hi Rog – sorry to hear about your unemployment check issues.

    Do you mind explaining further, as I wasn’t around in late 2008. You received unemployment benefits end of 2008, which ended i’m assuming since you found your most recent job, but now there’s some red tape to get another set of unemployment benefits again?
    .-= Financial Samurai´s last blog ..Federal Government Employees Raking It In =-.

    • No worries, FS; I actually only started this blog in early 2009, so even those who have been reading from the start haven’t heard the full story. Here’s the short version:

      I was laid off of work from a company called Minrad in November of 2008. I filed for unemployment, received approval, and started collecting. Since then, I’ve held several part time and temporary jobs. When you work part time, you can still collect unemployment benefits in Pennsylvania, although the amount you receive may be reduced. (You have a certain amount as a ‘part-time work allowance’ which you can earn while still collecting full unemployment benefits; beyond that amount, your benefits are reduced a dollar for each dollar you earn.)

      When you work full time, though, you are unable to collect unemployment at all. BUT, your claim still remains active, so that if your job ends for whatever reason during the time your initial claim is active, you can start collecting again under said original claim, rather than having to file all the paperwork again. It’s somewhat time saving, as well as ensuring that you can take a temp job, even one that pays significantly less, without destroying your ability to collect unemployment benefits at the higher rate associated with your last full time position.

      Unfortunately, my initial claim (the one from when I left Minrad) ran out, as it’s been a year since I initially filed it, even though It hasn’t paid out all the money that was promised yet. Luckily, I am able to refile, but it’s still a pain in the bureaucratic rump (to say nothing of being short of cash during the busiest shopping month of the year, although that might be a blessing in disguise).

  2. Ah I C Rog. Very interesting. It sounds like a pretty good system actually, and it’s just unfortunate it happened to you the second time just after it expired. If it happened a couple years after it expired or something, it may have “felt” less painful to redo.

    Let’s say you were able to get $12,000 in benefits your first year and you get it. You work 6 months, and then become unemployed again. Do you get another $12,000 worth of benefits in the next 12 months, or do you have to wait 6 months to get the 12 months benefits etc?
    .-= Financial Samurai´s last blog ..The Katana 12/14: What’s Your ONE Word Definition of Happiness? =-.

    • Yes, it is a pretty good system, and I just happened to get back in when I needed to refile (due to, if I understand what the person I talked to at the unemployment office, the extensions passed by Congress). It has helped me a lot, and even this set back is still better than not having money at all.

      As to your question, the short version is, if you still have any money left in the benefits to which you are entitled, you can still collect from the initial claim (unless, as mentioned before, changes in the rules require you to refile), provided you are unemployed again within two years (here in Pennsylvania, at least). If you are out of benefits after that period of time, you’ll have to refile, and how much you eligible to receive in benefits will be based on that six month work stint, which may be less than you were getting before, or perhaps more, depending on what you earned at your job. I think (emphasis, think) that you are can refile for benefits even if you are employed for less than a year, although, I’m still waiting for my confirmation after I refiled, so I’m still a little nervous on that point.

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