Saturday, January 20, 2018

A troubling and confusing situation.

So I have pretty much outlined my plans and goals for the year and so far things were on track.   With the money I had saved from camphosting, combined with my unemployment, I was going to look to change my rig before heading back to my next hosting job in the spring.  Just had to come home and get mom in her new senior living setup, get my license renewed and buy my rig.

You served me well my blue friend, but
its time to retire.
Everything was going swell, but of course the government decided life can't be that easy and interjected itself in my plans.

A seemingly innocuous demand, do your civic duty, and serve on a jury.   Be on call for 5 months, ok getting a little ridiculous now....but I don't know anyone who had to serve for more than a few days or at most weeks.   After confirming my job start time to be later in the year, I calmed down.  I don't mind serving, I just don't want to risk everything to do it.

But as I got my unemployment packet and looked over the bi-weekly 'certification' form (they use to make sure you are looking for work, always available to work, and not making money any other way), I came to a pretty scary realization.  Because my forced duty, I may lose my unemployment benefits.

I started doing research online, wondering why they would even count jury duty at all, as it is mandated.   Well apparently they do and you must report it.   From multiple sources I found online you are required to report it, and how much you make (40/day for me).  Putting any other income is going to get your certification rejected, especially if you also answer the 'were you available to work' question with a NO. 

Oddly accurate...
I dug some more, and found that the law actually says that jury duty, or any summons to court still counts as 'being available to work'.   The problem is that a yes response to this combined with entering anything in the 'money you made from work or other sources' will still also trigger a rejection.

So, I am faced with 2 things happening.   The application is rejected (i have to do a paper one as well, instead of online, whenever you don't give standard 'acceptable' answers), and they will delay my payment and call me for a phone interview.  Hopefully I can explain the situation, at which point they will deduct the $40 from my unemployment, and issue my payment eventually.

Or as what happened to some others, they will just cancel my claim altogether, and I will have to fight to get it reinstated by contacting them, and wont even get the pay for those weeks.

Anyway, it leaves me wishing that I had went to my doctor right away and gotten an excuse to get out of jury (I do actually have a spinal defect that makes sitting or standing for any prolong period of time progressively more painful, that's why I can only drive 1 hour or 2 max at a time).  But I was snowed in the last 3 weeks, and out of time to see the doctor.

   As it is, the best case scenario is I go to court all day for free, and worst case is I lose nearly $4,000 in benefits (assuming I stay unemployed till spring) over 40 bucks.

I wish they just made an across the board exception, with a little checkbox, for 'did you serve jury duty' and leave it at that for 'doing my civic duty' like im supposed to do.  Since you have to go and employers aren't even suppose to prevent or penalize you for going.

Actually, I think I know...

It all seems odd and confusing to me.  The timing is terrible, if I coulda just got a couple checks in the bank I wouldn't mind but they almost perfectly conspired to conflict with each other (i found it more than a coincidence that just days after paying my states 'personal property tax' on my van, I got a notice to serve, I should have waited till my registration was expired in February).

Oh well, maybe I can find a shitty retail job if all of this falls through that I can just quit later.   Just felt like bringing up a strange situation that you may find yourself in if you do the camphosting/unemployment route.

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