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Archive for April, 2010

I got notice today that the ALJ rendered a decision in my favor, overturning the Department of Labor’s original determination that I was not qualified for Unemployment Insurance. Pretty exciting news! I start receiving benefits this week. Had to cancel direct deposit because between my filing date (June 29, 2009) and today, my bank account was closed (by the bank – for lack of funds and too many overdrafts) and obtain a direct payment card. It’s all a cash business this life of mine. “Off the grid” is how a young fried described my tenuous existence on the margins of civilized society, apart from people with jobs and money to buy groceries and pay the rent….

I was right, though, someone with a Maxfield Parrish poster on her office wall, can’t be too bad;) Thank you, judge M, for being fair.

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I had my unemployment hearing at 10 a.m. in downtown Brooklyn yesterday. I arrived early so
I could inspect my file. It was an odd mix of documents, but I knew where the attorney for the Dept. of Labor was going to go with his line of questioning. I may not be an attorney, but I did graduate from law school and studied a lot of labor law.

Most people—and their lawyers—got there too late to examine their files. At least the lawyers should know better! And then there was an attorney from Jackson Lewis (Jackson Lewis is a national law firm, which, as its websites reiterate “represents management exclusively in employment, labor, benefits and immigration law and related litigation” who had two cases yesterday. This firm is menace to workers/employees/former employees and the  first person who had to go up against their attorney was a schlubby guy who had worked at P.C. Richard. He had an independent attorney, but P. C. Richards had Jackson Lewis. That guy was not coming out alive.

A coupla other guys were called in—one with an attorney and one not. Then I was called and the Dept. of Labor attorney showed his face. We went into the Administrative Law Judge’s office, a female this time, not condescending like the male judge at my fair hearing, but still all business. We went on record and the DoL attorney started asking me questions from the documents that were in the file. I acted like I had never seen them and took my time to reread the papers each time one was handed to me.

I was asked to present for evidence the various documents the hearing notice told me to produce, of which I had only a few. Really, I don’t have that much paperwork about me and my business, that’s the point: I’m just a poor girl from Brooklyn otherwise I would even be fighting this case.

So after an hour and a half, the attorney for the Dept. of Labor couldn’t think of anything else to bother me with so asked that we adjourn and I be required to produce some specific documentation to back up a particular part of my testimony. The judge recessed for five minutes and the DoL attorney and I just averted each other’s eyes and looked around the room, a very empty space except for a huge 2009 calendar on the wall opposite me and a Mayfield Parrish poster form the Boston Museum of Fine Arts hanging near the door. Made me think the judge couldn’t be too bad if she dug Maxfield Parrish.

The judge came back with her calendar, asked me if I could produce the evidence in a week and meet next Weds at 3:30 to show it. I said yes then the DoL guy gave the judge the runaround about how he had other cases next Weds at that time and might not be able to be there etc, etc. So she made the time earlier—1 pm— and he complained again. She got pretty annoyed with him because he is the party who requested the short adjournment. He finally had to agree. She said she wanted to rule soon so that it was fair for both parties and she wasn’t going to back down and change the time again.

So, we adjourned and next Weds I will hand over said document, which I have already received from my accountant. This piece of paper will totally prove my case! The DoL attorney will question me about the document and then we will both make closing statements. The judge will then rule within two weeks and that will be that.

Whatever the ruling, I have nothing now, so nothing to lose. It’s clear I have NOT been werking and earning money since I was laid off last June, otherwise I would not be on Public Assistance, Food Stamps and Medicaid!

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Back in July after I was laid off and denied UI benefits, I filed for a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge to plead my case. That was in early August. I am today, April 7th, finally getting my hearing. I have a bunch of files several inches thick as evidence I want to enter into the record. I also need to arrive at my hearing early to inspect my case file. A case that is actually not against my former employer who laid me off, but against myself and my business that remains open (though has not made any revenue since before I was laid off) because I don’t have the cash to pay off business debts and close the damn company. And if I don’t pay those business debts and do close the business albatross, I will be personally liable for those all those accounts payable.

I think just being on Public Assistance, Medicaid and receiving Food Stamps is a good indication that Unemployment Insurance sure would have helped me — and also that I rightfully should have (and still be) receiving UI benefits on a weekly basis. But that’s just my informed personal and legal opinion.

I will, as usual, keep you posted.

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HRA business is usual: I get my Public Assistance of $151 a month and $200 worth of food Stamps regularly. HRA no longer bothers me and I don’t bother them.

However, it’s a different story entirely with the NYS Department of Labor. I filed for unemployment insurance last July when I lost my corporate job and was denied because I have a dormant LLC that once up-on a time make a tiny bit of money but has not made a dime for over a year. I wouldn’t ever have entered the HRA system if I’d received unemployment insurance during this time.

I had filed for a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge in August and just received my hearing date a few weeks ago: April 7th. So, since then I have been gathering my “evidence” to present at the hearing. The judge seems to be on the ball b/c she asked for certain documentation, which I can  totally provide and which will prove exactly what I have told UI about my case: I have earned a few nickels form freelancing, but nothing from my dormant company nor from any other source since July.

So, that’s where I’ve been, hunting down documentation and making (expensive) copies to submit to the ALJ next Weds the 7th.

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