Monday, May 21, 2007

An update on my quest for the Grail, the Grail being the unemployment benefits I believe I'm entitled to as a result of my part-time job being eliminated.

Last week's episode in this saga saw your hero calling the Rhode Island Department of Labor and Training to " refile " for benefits. That's what the referee ( He wasn't wearing a striped shirt ) told me to do at the end of my hearing two weeks ago. The first time I called I got a recording that kept repeating itself. I heard and understood the English version. Then it started saying ( I assume ) the same thing in Spanish, Ukranian, Laotian, Farsi and some other language I've never heard of. Probably a language spoken on some other planet.

After that I was placed on hold for twenty five minutes. I finally got to speak to someone ( She spoke English ) She asked me for my social security number, then uttered two words I did not want to hear:

" Hold please. "

I was on hold for about ten minutes when I heard a weird beeping sound. It took me a minute to realize that my call had been dropped. The next thing I did was call something called NetWORK RI. It's an outfit that " helps " people who find themselves in my position. I explained to the guy what I was trying to do, refile.

" Oh, that's easy, " he said. " Just go to the DLT's Cranston office. You talk to someone there; it won't take but a few minutes. "

" You don't call or go online? " I asked.

" No. Refiling's gotta be done in person. At the Cranston office. "

I thanked him. Drove up to Cranston this morning after putting some gas in the car. A gallon of regular cost me $3.10. It's a 45 minute drive. Cranston's almost in Providence. I found the place pretty easily. The office is in the same complex as the state mental hospital. I think there's a reason for this, and I'll get to that...

I found a parking spot. Collected the paperwork I brought with me and walked towards the DLT office. I passed some people on my way there. They looked kind of frustrated and confused. I hoped they were mental patients and not people who'd just walked out of the place I was about to walk into.

I walked into the DLT building. There was an information/security desk there. Three guys were sitting behind it. I walked up to the desk. The guys gave me a look like the look on that kid's face. The kid in Deliverance. The one on the porch, playing the banjo.

" How y'all doing? " I asked.

The guys looked at me like I just asked them what the square root of 189 is.

" I'm here to refile for unemployment benefits, " I said.

One of the guys says back: " Ya have to do that by phone, we don't take walk-ins here. "

" But I..." I started to say. Then said screw it. Ain't worth it. I said " Unbelievable. " Then I said thank you.

Then I walked over to the state hospital and signed myself in.

I made that last part up. Everything else is, unfortunately true.


jane said...

Terry--I think that is probably how it works best for Rhode Island. They count on people being so confused and frustrated they will just disappear and the state will not have to shell out any dough...
They have planned everything perfectly!

Terrence said...

You're probably right. And included in the conspiracy are the oil guys, who KNEW I'd have to use $8.00 worth of gas to get to the place where I was told, " All ya had ta do was call; we don't take walk-ins here. " But the state did have a good idea when it put the office in the mental hospital complex. Talk about convenience.

Fred said...

If all else fails take the American way. Open your own small business funded by the federal govt. Like a worm farm or something, when it fails first you get bailed out, next when it fails, your loan will get lost in all the red tape, and third just think how much money you'll get back in next years taxes. What we need is a good strong president like Ronnie Reagan to clear the welfare rolls like he did as soon as he was elected. Then maybe a honest man will have a better chance in the Sea of Red Tape. Fred

Jennifer Warner Cooper said...

Oy vey. But I think I have strep,so even typing hurts.

I'll have plenty to say about this soon.
You hang in there, Mister.

Terrence said...

Thanks Jane, Fred, Jennifer. I'm hanging in there. It's all material - as Nora Ephron says. And things could be worse.

Jennifer. Hook yourself up to an IV of chicken soup. You take care of yourself, hear?