Idaho 2021: Spite and Paperwork

Reasons That My Husband’s Unemployment Benefits Have Been Delayed This Year in Idaho:

1. Because the state had a backlog processing initial claims

2. Because they shifted from Regular Unemployment to Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA)

3. Because they shifted from PUA to PEUC

4. Because they shifted from PEUC to the Biden extension

5. Because there was a known computer glitch, but it was still our responsibility to fill out a form and fax it back to end the payments stoppage

6. Because they didn’t receive that form, so we had to call and email it again

7. Because the school where he would have been working had a three day weekend this one time, and it sent the state unemployment claims system into a freakout and stopped his claim

8. Because after a year had already gone by, he suddenly needed to fill out a bunch of paperwork to prove he was who he said he was

9. Because while he was looking for a full-time job, he was also working in part-time self-employment, which was fine with the unemployment office, until it wasn’t fine, and then after several months of hassle, it was deemed to be fine again

The state of Idaho has been mean-spiritedly stopping unemployment claims for the last year, deluging my husband with constant Kafkaesque “Gotcha!” paperwork in an effort to kick as many people off the rolls as possible. Just keeping up with the Paperwork of Spite has become its own part-time job in and of itself.

In our family, this time, we had other resources. I never suspected that my disability income would make me a “primary breadwinner.” But strange times lead to strange circumstances.

However, I have had plenty of times in my life where unemployment was the only thing I could rely on, and each time our claims got stopped for a month on some technicality, I thought of all the other folks who were going through the same thing, but with no Plan B.

As of next week, for better or worse, it’s over. Because our Governor decided that the best way to get people back to working with the public was by banning all vaccine requirements in government buildings. Like, say, schools. And *then* ending unemployment early. Because, you know, our teachers are so important that they should unnecessarily risk their lives for $30k a year.

I can only imagine the public school teachers here, and many other workers, will be retiring en masse.

The cruelty is the point.