by Chris Bodenner
A reader writes:
This reader clearly doesn't understand the purpose of unemployment. He was not eligible for unemployment in either scenario, regardless of whether it crossed his mind. You don't get unemployment just because you're not working. You only get unemployment when you lose your job through no fault of your own. If you're fired for cause, you don't get unemployment. If you just left school and are looking for a job, you don't get unemployment.
In both instances, he was a full time student prior to being unemployed. I don't know how it works in other states, but in California, they base the amount you collect in unemployment insurance on a percentage of the salary you made Six Months before you were requesting benefits. As a student, he had no income. He may have been eligible for other types of government assistance, but not unemployment benefits.
He talks about difficulty in paying rent but not paying tuition. A full scholarship is doubtful since that would likely include a fresh baked job upon graduation. My guess his parents cover his tuition. He basically has been living on student loans, parents/brother's money, for the past 8 years.
He was a starving college then law school student. He *knew* he was in precarious financial condition so was not likely to have invested in a house, car, etc. Contrast that with the worker who has been earning a paycheck for years, has been paying on a mortgage and car and who suddenly finds his employer laying him off. It is for these people that unemployment insurance was created.
While I know it's fun for some people to play the contest–"Who walked the longest through the most snow, up hill, both ways"–crowing about not using unemployment insurance is kind of like saying, "sure I have vacation, but I never use it, because I'm so bad ass, and you're just a pu**y if you use it, and don't be surprised if you get fired, cause you are obviously not a hard worker." Finally, one point that hasn't been expressed yet in this thread is the fact that if an over-qualified person takes a "menial" job, then there is one less "menial" job available for someone who truly may need it.