Multi State Claim Problem
I'm not sure this is the right section but I wanted to share my experience. I'm just copying and pasting the letter I just sent my senator:
Dear Sen. Rockefeller:
I became unemployed April 24 of last year. I had been working for a government contractor doing short tours in Iraq since 2006. I got the job after being deployed for a year as a soldier. Not surprisingly my family and I got tired of the frequent deployments and when my company presented an opportunity for a position with more time stateside we were excited. We moved from Illinois to West Virginia December of 2008 and bought a house.
About four months later my company lost their contract and therefore the position I moved for and I was laid off. At the time I was only expecting a short break but I went ahead and reported to the local unemployment office to apply for benefits. Because I had only been in WV for less than four months and had lived in IL for the year before that my relevant work credits for unemployment compensation were with IL and I was told to apply with them. I did so with no problem and began receiving $385 in weekly benefits from the Illinois Department of Employment Security(IDES).
Despite some early hopeful signs my period of unemployment dragged on long past what I expected. As I approached my 26th week I received a letter from IDES stating that I was approaching the end of my state benefit but might be eligible for the federal extension. The letter stated that if I was determined to be eligible a claim for the extension would be established for me automatically and I need do nothing. A couple of weeks later I received another letter saying it had gone through and to continue to certify for benefits.
In April I received another letter stating my benefit year was about to end and to contact IDES. I did so and was told I was still in the middle of the federal extension so there was no problem. I just needed to resubmit to start my benefit year over. I did so online. May 11th I received another letter saying a question had been raised about my eligibility and scheduled a phone interview. I had the phone interview on the 18th. During that conversation I was told that because of the four months of 2009 in which I had worked in WV I should have applied for WV state benefits on Nov. 1, 2009. I was further informed that my ineligibility for the federal extension resulted in an overpayment which I must pay back and that I should file a claim with WV backdated to Nov. 1st so that I could repay IDES. Yesterday I received a bill from IDES for $10,250.
Iím writing you because Iím confused how something like this could happen. If I had worked in IL for four months in an eligibility period and the other eight months in WV the credits just would have been transferred between states so that it would still count as a single period of employment. But because the tilt is the other way IL wants me off their rolls and Iím supposed to apply it as two periods even though it was the same company the whole time.
The four months of work in WV only qualifies me for $165/wk in benefits. Which means my benefit amount would be less than half of what it was and even if WV agrees to backdate it Iíll receive as backpay less than half the amount I now owe to IDES. Iím planning to appeal the decision of IDES but by Illinois law once Iíve applied for a benefit somewhere else I lose eligibility for that period in IL so Iím not hopeful for the outcome and I canít afford to wait until the appeal is over before filing in WV. I would have already filed here but itís an unusual situation and the person who could help is out today.
I canít believe that this is what the intent of the unemployment system in general or the emergency extension specifically was meant to be. I had one period of employment. I received a benefit calculated on my average income from that employment. Now Iím told that isnít how it works and Iím further in debt than I was before.
Even if all of the monetary issues are resolved the damage has already been done. My wife and I were barely treading water hoping for the situation to improve. Despite the job loss we were happy about moving to WV and we loved our new house and everything about living here. But because of the job loss we no longer have a buffer which would allow us to make it through a weeks to months long reduction of our income. Our house is going up for a short sale. Hopefully it sells for enough that we donít go too much further in debt. Either way weíre set back quite a ways. My future potential earnings are also affected as the work I do is sensitive in nature and requires a clearance which of course will be negatively impacted by the hit to my credit and whatever is added to my debt.
Iím not entirely certain what you can do to help but I feel certain that something went horribly wrong with the way the system works.