Wednesday, November 18, 2009

life happens...

Robin's Commentary --

Once again, I have to apologize to my faithful readers for not keeping up with the postings. A lot has been happening in my life and in my families. We are struggling with a family member who has recently developed cancer and I myself just got through recovering from emergency gallbladder surgery.

Normally as a rule on this blog, I try not to get too much into my personal life, however, there is a little quandary of a bureaucracy that I thought I would share.

This has to do with unemployment insurance. (And don't panic, this is not from Oregon believe it or not)

Shortly after my gallbladder surgery, the company that I am working for would not allow me to return to work until after my doctor released me for full duty. This would take approximately 2 months. in addition, that meant two months without income and medical bills without insurance. Ouch!

So I had this brainy idea of calling the unemployment department and asking them if there is any possibility of getting some financial assistance during the time that I was not allowed to return to work. My thinking was, that if you are doing a job search, and you land a job however that job will not start for a couple weeks, typically they will allow you to collect unemployment and not have to do a job search during that waiting time for the job.

so I figured that the situation could be considered similar and it wouldn't hurt to ask. So I called the unemployment office and said, "I am on medical leave and was wondering if there is any possibility of getting any financial assistance during this time? I have a definite return date." Their response was, "yes, there is a good chance that you can get assistance. I will go ahead and reopen your account and you need to start doing a job search." Cool, I thought. This would definitely help since I'm going about two months plus without income.

So I went ahead restarted my job search and got a letter from the unemployment office stating that my account was reopened and I should start receive benefits unless there were extraordinary circumstances.

09 voluntary quit

I logged into my account and that is what I discovered.

09 voluntary quit -- benefits are denied until you make $3500

WHAT!

Who said I quit?

I made some phone calls and they said that the only way that I could get that changed was to file an appeal. So I did.

The hearing was held over the phone with the arbitrator, myself and my current employer (you know, the one that I allegedly quit)

My employer had testified in writing that I was still employed with company and that I was on medical leave due to my gallbladder, and was expected to return to work on the release date.

I had also in my testimony and in writing explained the same situation.

You would think it would be a no-brainer.

Let's see, the claimant states that she did not quit, and the employer confirms that accusation. So logically speaking, the facts indicate that the claimant was and still is currently employed and therefore the classification of 09 voluntary quit is in error.

WRONG!

After hearing testimony for approximately 15 minutes, two days later the arbitrator upheld the ruling of 09 voluntary quit.

Again, I made a few more phone calls to the unemployment office. I talked to the arbitrator's supervisor who tried to explain to me that a classification of a voluntary quit is. His definition was that any time you are not receiving a salary from your employer unless you are laid off or fired is considered leaving the company voluntarily.

Okay... so if I understand this correctly being rushed to the hospital, having surgery to remove my gallbladder, not allowed to return to work for almost 2 months because of the aforementioned gallbladder surgery equals a voluntary quit... right!

I have the right to appeal the arbitrator's decision, and that may happen.

In the meantime, this is just another example of government taking things too extreme and out of context on something that could've been very easily remedied.

So let's go back in time for a moment and see how it should have gone.

Robin: "I am out on medical leave for two months is there any possibility of receiving any assistance since there is still some money in my account?"

Unemployment office: "I can reopen your claim, however, since you will be away from your employer for an extended length of time, it may show on your record as a voluntary quit, which could mean that..."

Robin: "oh, okay. No thank you, I was just asking."

UPDATE:11/26/09

I have posted in the comments section the results of the decision and the reason for the decision.

9 Comments:

Blogger Bobkatt said...

Sorry to hear about your problems. My mom died of cancer about a year ago and it was real rough.
I recently found out that I need shoulder surgery and the surgeon said I have to be off work for 6 months and can't drive for 3 months. Just shoot me in the head.

1:53 AM  
Blogger Robin said...

ouch!
sorry to hear about your mom. hope that everything works out okay for you.

that is a long time to be out of work, and just how something can come along unexpectedly and can place you in to financial ruin.

I know, I am there.

good luck to you and please keep us informed on your progress.

Robin

1:30 PM  
Blogger Robin said...

Here is what the determination that North Dakota unemployment office has made and how they determined that I voluntarily quit my job.

I'm dictating this into the computer, so I will apologize in advance if there are some errors that I overlooked.

additionally, I'm having to break us up into several comments because of the 4096 characters maximum that are allowed in a comment.

REASON FOR THE DECISION

The greater weight of evidence in the record gives rise to the conclusion that the claimant was off work due to a non-work related medical condition. Under these circumstances, it was necessary to do the claimant voluntary leaving in accordance with the exception provided under the injury or EOS provision of section 52-06-02, subsection 1. Unless all three of the requirements are met, unemployment insurance benefits will be denied.

1. ADVICE TO QUIT OR REMAIN AWAY FROM EMPLOYMENT BY A POSITION. The climate was advised to remain away from her employment pending her full recovery from surgery. This requirement is met.

2. ADVISE THE EMPLOYER OF THE PHYSICIANS REQUIREMENT. They claim it is by the employer of the physicians orders. In this requirement is met.

3. MADE SERVICES AVAILABLE TO THE EMPLOYER WITHIN 60 DAYS FROM THE LAST THEY WORKED. The loss best-of-five that an individual make their services available for "SUITABLE" work. This generally imply that the situation of the work is based on the claimant prior duties in relation to the hiring agreement. The claimant's primary duties with regard to her employment, is to work as a truck driver.

This position requires, among other things, that the claimant be capable of lifting, pulling, and wishing on a regular basis. The fact of this case showed that she was not able to perform the duties for which he has been hired. Under the circumstances, it cannot be said that the climate was able to make her services available to the employer in the context of her normal duties at the time she filed her claim for unemployment insurance benefits. On that basis, this requirement is not met.

6:37 AM  
Blogger Robin said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

6:39 AM  
Blogger Robin said...

The claimant contends that she did not voluntarily with her employment; especially as she has since returned to work pending her recovery from surgery. The appeals referee agrees. However, in order to receive unemployment insurance benefits during the period of her recovery, she must have been able to meet all three of the requirements of the above exception. Having considered this matter, it is determined that the claimant has not met the minimum eligibility requirements for receiving unemployment insurance benefits under the above exception. Therefore, the appeals referee does not have the statutory authority to allow benefits to the claimant during her period of leave of absence.

DECISION:

The determination and dated October 22, 2009, is AFFIRMED. The climate remains disqualified from unemployment insurance benefits effective October 11, 2009, and therefore until she returns to work and earns $3248 from an employer or employers who provide unemployment insurance coverage and has not left employment under disqualifying circumstances.

Not that I have said before, I only inquired if the resistance would be available. To me, the ruling is unreasonable because all they had to say is, "nope. Can't do it!" But no, they had to go through this BS and make things more difficult.

By the way, as for the voluntarily quit. I did recently quit the company after they started deducting money from my paycheck for repairs to a trailer. The money was justified in the fact that the company uses a Comdata system which combines personal and company funds into the same account. When the production was made, the company refused to talk to me at all about it while I was on the road and therefore with the problems I've had with the company since I started working there, my family suggested that it was time to part company.

In the coming week, I plan to do an article on the Comdata system and why it's such a bad idea.

In closing, I'm no longer have the option for unemployment assistance from North Dakota, and having not worked enough in Oregon plus this time really volunteering to leave my job, well let's just say that 2009 has really sucked.

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