The federal state unemployment insurance program began all the way back in 1935. It was started to help people who lost their jobs by giving them a safety net while they looked for new work. This also helps keep dollars flowing into the economy when times get tough. Additional Extended Benefits were first made available in the 1970s. Emergency Unemployment Compensation was added in the early 1990's recession.
When our 21st century economy turned sour, the Emergency Unemployment Compensation Program (EUC08), started up once more in 2008 under Public Law 110-252. As the downturn worsened, EUC08 was added into the American Re-investment and Recovery Act of 2009. The ARRA states that "Each amount in this Act is designated as an emergency requirement and necessary to meet emergency needs". At its peak, through much of early 2010, nearly 6 million Americans were collecting just these benefits. According to the BLS, since 2008 there have been 29,748,954 EUC08 Claims (for all tiers) that have paid a combined 663,688,610 weeks of benefits. The amount spent so far = $97,433,246,688 for EUC08 benefits to present day.
What do you think would happen if something went terribly wrong with this system? What if the federal government made an implementation error at the start of this program and let that error go for four years+?
Over the course of this recession and our seemingly endless economic woes, this vital program has helped millions of struggling workers and families nationwide. It has helped them and through them it has helped out our economy and the non-unemployed indirectly. The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities agrees. June 25,2012:
"Unemployment Insurance as Economic StimulusIntroduction to Unemployment Insurance
Unemployment benefits are designed first to relieve distress for jobless workers and their families. In recessions and the early stages of recoveries, however, they provide an additional benefit: stimulating economic activity and job creation. In fact, a major reason Congress created the basic UI program during the Great Depression was to help boost the economy and jobs."
The states are the ones who run these extended benefits programs directly, that kick in after people lose their regular unemployment compensation. The state agencies, like EDD and the CUIAB in California, make all the determinations, payments and adjudication for these emergency benefits. Both EUC08 (Tiers I-IV) and Federal-State EB (last 20 weeks/Fed-ED in Cali) are overseen by the federal Department of Labor Employment & Training Administration. They publish guidelines for the states to follow and obey, that are the interpretation and implementation of our Public Laws, Federal Register, Standing Statutes, and/or the Administrative Law found in the Code of Federal Regulations.
Unemployment Insurance Program Letter 23-08, was published on July 07, 2008 in support of the Supplemental Appropriation Act. Its purpose was to explain to the states the technical details of our "law" and these extended benefits programs, giving them the specific instructions for how to implement this nationwide. These were first published and explained in Attachment A, "The Implementing and Operating Instructions for EUC08". This is 100% in compliance with the administrative law found at Title 20 Chapter V Part 615. Or at least it WAS...
But then, on August 15, 2008, the Department of Labor issued UIPL 23-08, Change 1. This was one of many updates due to the ever changing extensions of these emergency benefits over the past four years. Each update made explanations of any new extensions/changes in the "law" and tried to make clarifications to the state agencies through the Q&A sections. Buried deep in this Q&A, in section D. Monetary Eligibility, the Department of Labor made this historic non compliant error:
7. Question: May an individual have more than one EUC08 claim? Answer: Yes. An individual may establish a claim for EUC08, qualify for a new UC benefit year, exhaust that benefit year, exhaust the first EUC08 claim and subsequently qualify for a second EUC08 claim based on the new (most recent) benefit year.UiPL 23-08 Change 1+ EUC08 "Multiple EUC Claims" Q&A error added (this continues through UiPL 4-10 change 4):
An individual is determined eligible for EUC08 based on a UC benefit year that ended on May 12, 2007. S/he receives 10 weeks of EUC08 prior to the calendar quarter change, at which point s/he qualifies for a new UC benefit year. Because the individual qualifies for regular UC, EUC08 payments must stop.
The individual exhausts benefits based on his/her new UC benefit year; therefore, s/he is again an exhaustee for EUC08 purposes. S/he may collect the remaining entitlement on his/her existing (first) EUC08 claim and after exhausting these benefits s/he may file a new (second) EUC08 claim based on the new (most recent) UC benefit year. The new/most recent benefit year is the applicable benefit year for a second EUC08 claim, if the initial claim for that second claim is for a week of unemployment ending on or before March 31, 2009.
What is wrong with that you ask? For starters both regular unemployment compensation and the last 20 weeks of emergency aid (State EB), don't work that way. When you go back to work and then become eligible for a new Ui claim based on this most recent benefit year, the extended benefits payments have stopped, with no entitlement to any remaining balance. If you then worked long enough and earned enough to qualify for a new unemployment claim, when the regular compensation is exhausted, you become eligible for extended benefits again. Federal-State EB would not allow you to collect the remaining funds from any older claim once this happens. Regular Compensation for this second benefit year would not have gone back to any older balances from the past either. You should be paid based on the most recent benefit year, not any older one.
The same is "supposed" to be true for EUC08. Here is the proof that I used to win California Unemployment Insurance Appeals Board Case No. A0-265448, that also is the basis for Recovery Fraud Complaint RATB-2011-DOL-9DF2506-0. It is hidden in plain sight:
"§615.5 Definition of ''exhaustee.''Title 20 Employee Benefits
(a)(1) “Exhaustee” means an individual who, with respect to any week of unemployment in the individual's eligibility period:
(2) An individual who becomes an exhaustee as defined above shall cease to be an exhaustee commencing with the first week that the individual becomes eligible for regular compensation under any State law or 5 U.S.C. chapter 85, or has any right to unemployment compensation as provided in paragraph (a)(1)(v) of this section, or has received or is seeking unemployment compensation as provided in paragraph (a)(1)(vi) of this section. The individual's Extended Benefit Account shall be terminated upon the occurrence of any such week, and the individual shall have no further right to any balance in that Extended Benefit Account."
Part 615 Extended Benefits In the Federal-State Unemployment Compensation Program
That seems pretty clear doesn't it? Government mumbo jumbo aside, it says that you cannot be paid from any older EUC08 balances, once you have returned to work and become eligible for a new claim again. You should be paid your EUC08 based on this new most recent benefit year/base period. The weekly benefit amount should be the same as your regular compensation from this most recent benefit year and base period. For example, you should not be paid $450/week regular Ui and then be forced onto a $100/week older remaining EUC08 balance for any legal reason whatsoever at any time. You should be paid the $450/week or whatever your regular compensation was for this recent year. So it appears that regular compensation, EUC08 and State EB ALL work the same then don't they, at least as far as entitlement to any remaining balances goes?
You might also ask what's wrong with getting to use up any older remaining balance for EUC08, and then getting a WHOLE NEW EUC08 claim on top of that? Man, the unemployed are living high on the hog right? Wrong. EUC08 claims were for up to 99 weeks. Benefit years are 52 weeks. Once you pass 52 weeks, and you have not used the current EUC08 claim based on the most recent benefit year, you lose it all together. Which means most people get trapped on a lesser claim for a very long time in many cases due to all the part time/temp work they are taking to survive.
You sit there, during tough times, being paid less money, while a higher paying new claim "waits" for you to exhaust this older and lesser one. After 52 weeks, the shiny new higher paying claim goes bye-bye. Not such a good deal after all eh? Its like carousel from Logan's Run: almost "nobody" gets to a second EUC08 account. These EUC08 errors kill them off before then. Renew! Renew!
And the gold medal for the greatest red-tape most fubar implementation of law ever goes to...the Department of Labor Employment & Training Administration! Let's give them all a big round of applause! Gay Gilbert, Dale Ziegler and Hilda Solis will be accepting this award on behalf of crooked, corrupt and incompetent government wonks everywhere.
It is a fact. The Department of Labor published serious errors in their EUC08 implementation guidelines, starting in 2008, in UIPL 23-08, change 1 forward through UIPL 4-10, about "Multiple EUC Claims". This does not comply with the federal administrative law found at Title 20 Chapter V Part 615. The Department of Labor has no authority to do this. Why are they implementing this program in this harmful and wasteful way? Why are they ignoring their oversight duty to investigate this evidence and recovery fraud complaint? The same could be asked of the State of California EDD/CUIAB, the FBI, Department of Justice, DOL OIG, Recovery Accountability & Transparency Board, The Treasury, the Congress, and the White House. None of them have much to say one way or the other.
The DOL Office of the Assistant Secretary for Policy, Rule-making and Regulations pages make it quite clear that the DOL is supposed to comply with these administrative regulations from 20 CFR 615. It is right here:
The DOL ETA is also very certain of where EUC08 and the ARRA meet. They say so clearly right here on this page:
Emergency Unemployment Compensation 2008 (EUC08) and Federal-State Extended Benefit (EB) Summary data for State ProgramsAs the unfortunate whistle blower in these pre-election circumstances let me just say that I don't want to be here. I would love to be anywhere else but here. I didn't plan or time this to be right before the general election. I don't have it in for anybody. I don't agree with what either "side" has been doing to our country for the past decade.
I have sincerely just been trying to fight to help the many many people I have seen and talked with online that have been victims of these errors over the past four years. 29,748,954 EUC08 claims means there are many more than just these people online who have been victimized by our governments mistakes. Any EUC08 claimant who was paid "some" portion of these funds in an initial benefit year, that then went on to qualify for new regular compensation in any subsequent benefit year, would have been affected by these errors.
That's $97,433,246,688 worth of claims over four years that may have serious problems in both denials and over-payments, not to mention adjudication. Some lucky people got more than they were supposed to....but most were denied emergency funds, paid lesser weekly benefit amounts for shorter periods of time, losing the higher paying claims while they exhausted the older one. That means people were counted as unemployed for far less time then they should have been. They also lost appeals by the thousands that flood every state to this day (decisions based on the DOL error ridden UIPLs of course).
But now what? Does the mother of three children who was forced off a $450/week EUC08 claim down to $71/week have to wait until after the general election for help? If the government continues to ignore its oversight duty, will she and millions of others be forced into a lengthy, expensive and historic class action suit against the federal government, using "Bivens v. Six Unknown Named Agents, 403 U.S. 388 (1971)" as the precedent?
Just because the government does not want to admit nor deal with these huge mistakes involving millions of citizens, millions of claims for emergency designated ARRA funds, and billions of dollars? Do we ignore the problem because we like the "team" who "cheated" and want them to win no matter what? I know how it felt in 2000 thanks to Bush v Gore...the shoe is on the other foot now and I don't like it either way.
Like it or not, these appear to be irrefutable facts. The saga I have been trying to tell shows how the State and Feds worked together in February of 2012, to keep my case from becoming a precedent, under the threat of the loss of all extended benefits for all claimants in California. I am still requesting oversight, providing evidence and my public concerns to the Feds. I am still in the process of more FOIA, Presidential Records, and Privacy Act requests, as part of the investigation I have taken up myself when nobody else would. I am still unemployed, so why not use my time to help our country?
My grams served as an Army Nurse during WWII in the Pacific 1941-1945. She then spent the next 25 years as a registered nurse helping people until she retired. My grandfather on the other side of the family also served in WWII as a Tec 5 with the 7th Armored Division in Europe. He spent a good part of the rest of his life working for the US Post Office as Postmaster of one of the most beautiful little slice of American pie towns you could ever imagine. After he retired, he still helped to deliver emergency medical supplies and records between hospitals and medical centers as a courier. They never talked much about their service. It was just a job they did and had to do. Now that they have passed, I thought I would try to do my small part. I have been so naive...
The Feds won't respond. They won't refute my evidence. They did not and could not take my case to Superior Court to try to overturn the standing decision. Now that I have begun reporting the story on my own, in my own word salad rookie style, they have begun to shut down even my FOIA requests. This is not how our country is supposed to work. These struggling people did not deserve this. They were already screwed thanks to the failed policies of our nation that culminated in our historic financial meltdown.
Messing with their emergency aid has devastated their lives. I know. I spent 26 weeks with less benefits last year struggling to get by, until my 10/20/11 appeal victory over these errors. Back in 2008, the whole country took a serious economic dive. Our economy has been barely treading water for the last four years. These poor struggling workers and families needed this emergency aid. They needed it to be paid right. If there was a problem they needed to have a way to petition the government for a redress of their grievances.
This has not happened. I seem to be the only one being paid in compliance with 20 CFR 615. I was able to make a stand, fight and win. I am still fighting, despite the government trying to delay and defeat my efforts every single step of the way. Those letters I discovered and exposed via the FOIA, from 2/7/12 and 2/14/12, prove just how much they want to cover this up and to what lengths they would go. The other "stories" I have been writing are the proof.
Like it or not. Something has to be done...or our laws and regulations mean nothing. Democracy is truly dead if this injustice continues, especially without a single peep from our government, including Mr. Barrack Obama. His White House was made aware of my CUIAB case and whistle blower efforts on both 10/18 and 10/21/11 by the DOL. He was the addressee. My CUIAB case 10/20/11 and whistle blower efforts were the subject.
I am asking you, Mr. President, to make a response before the General Election, about these matters of national importance. Pretty please...will you tell us what is going on?
The rest of the story can be found here (in order):
Mr. President, I hear FOIA
a Recovery Fraud Complaint Ignored
An ARRA Implementation Error Exposed
The Recovery Fraud Complaint and CUIAB Case:
a Recovery Fraud Complaint ignored...
FOIA discovery: letters between the Department of Labor ETA and California EDD/CUIAB that expose the cover-up (scroll to the end)
If Regulations are Broken in the Forest, and "Nobody" Sees and Hears them get broken...