Confessions of a Laid-off Lawyer

Just Your Average Joe Blogging Away His Debt—In One Year or Less

Posts Tagged ‘unemployment benefits

What a Long, Strange Trip It’s Been

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Total Black: -$199.61
Total Red: $269,947.74

This is the end.  My only friends.  The end.  Of my elaborate plans.  The end.  Can’t you picture what could’ve been?  So limitless and free.  Desperately in need . . . of some . . . stranger’s hand.  In my desperate land.  It hurts to set you free.  But you’ll never follow me.  This is, after all, the end.    Keep reading . . .

Living Wage

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Total Black: $3,956.23
Total Red: $270,710.31

President Obama signed an extension of unemployment benefits today.  Somehow I missed the news that Congress revived the issue and then passed it.  Last I had heard, Republicans blocked it.  And the media rang its death knell.  While driving home from work today I heard debate on NPR about extending unemployment benefits.  A year ago I was still collecting unemployment.  Keep reading . . .

592 Days

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Total Black: $2,425.73
Total Red: $241,855.21

Today I became a law clerk.  And after 592 days, I am no longer laid-off.  Keep reading . . .

Written by Laid-off Lawyer

June 1, 2010 at 23:49

Tax Day

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Total Black: $734.79
Total Red: $234,846.52

Yes.  It’s Tax Day.  At least in the United States.  I filed mine today.  Keep reading . . .

Stressed Out

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Total Black: $41.89
Total Red: $229,148.69

Over the past few days, I’ve been feeling extremely and unusually stressed out.  Not exactly panicky, but damn near it.  And it’s really over nothing.  Total red creeped up a bit because of finance charges and a few purchases.  It’s only up by about by about $200.  Not unreasonable.  Images come to mind of dough that keeps rising and then needs to be punched back down.  Or whack-a-mole.  Or even a hydra: cut off one head and two more grow back in its place.  I’m working two jobs.  Last week I put in sixty-three hours at the contract attorney position.  Yet it feels like I’m spinning my wheels.  I’m not.  Not really.  The only major drain on incoming finance is my apartment.  And I’ve heard enough from commenters on that one.  So much so that I’m almost beginning to dread going home.  That’s a horrible feeling to dread the only refuge you have.  I’ve been bringing or making my lunch nearly every day this week and last.  Me and Dinty Moore have grown apart.  I’ve been steppin’ out with Hormel.  Add some ketchup, a bit of brown sugar, and nuke it for about three minutes and you’ve got a tasty lunch that fills you for quite a while.  So why am I still so nervous? Keep reading . . .

Bringing It Down

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Total Black: $487.48
Total Red: $229,620.35

And so it’s begun.  Total red has finally stopped climbing and started retreating.  It’s an awesome feeling.  Monday will bring me another $500 from completing the medical experiment.  And then next Thursday I’ll have a sizeable check from putting in ten-hour (or more) days all this week.  That’ll cover rent and allow me to dump even more on my debts.

I worked ten hours yesterday.  I got a late start because one of the windows in my apartment had problems for over a month now—I’ve had more drafts than the health care bill.  Finally the landlord’s window person came by to fix things.  The window company was closed over the holidays.  So much for a city that purportedly doesn’t sleep, eh?  I’m on track to get at least sixty hours in this week.  It’s beginning to take its toll on my energy level, but I’ve got two gyms nearby the office, one that closes later than the other.  I’ve hit those at the end of the each night this week.  The unemployment benefits, which I referenced in Sixth Day of Accounting, still haven’t been paid.  Instead I received a letter in the mail from the New York State Department of Labor asking me to explain the break in my unemployment claim.  I received that last time I claimed unemployment benefits after the October contract attorney position wrapped up.  But back then I was also paid.  This time—at least to date—I’ve not been.  I’ll submit the form anyway though.

Guess that’s it for updates.  Short post today.  I’ve gotta run out and buy a few groceries and then head to the contract attorney position.

Written by Laid-off Lawyer

January 14, 2010 at 08:36

Sixth Day of Accounting

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Total Black: $708.59

Here’s the Breakdown:

Primary Checking: $9.95
Secondary Checking: $609.42
Savings: $0.00
PayPal Account (Personal): $2.43
PayPal Account (Blog): $0.00
Amazon Payments Account: $0.005
Mutual Funds Account: $86.79

FICO Score 501

Total Red: $230,476.54

Here’s the breakdown:

Credit Card Debt

MasterCard: $5,713.17
Visa: $8,232.42
Visa: $5,644.17
American Express: $2,200.00
Raymour & Flanagan Credit Line: $6,068.68

Student Loan Debt

Federal Stafford Loans: $96,810.17
Private Student Loans: $33,414.26

Back Taxes

IRS (2007): $1,285.85
IRS (2008): $28,116.66
NY State (2008): $0.00

Other Loans

My mother: $42,973.16

Once again, it’s that time of the month.  Keep reading . . .

Yet Another Update On Efforts

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Total Black: $279.58
Total Red: $230,715.35

I thought I’d take today to give an update on efforts.  I’m at a stand-still.  I suspect it’s because of the nature of the past few jobs I’ve had.  It is a bit befuddling to be running so long and hard, then realize you’re on a treadmill and the horizon hasn’t gotten any closer.  So far since starting this project, I’ve worked as an art seller and now an usher at at theatre, in addition to working at three contract attorney positions.  Each lasted just long enough for me to get things under control and then stopped abruptly.  But clearly my numbers aren’t moving much yet.  So, what’s been the problem? Keep reading . . .

COBRA Con

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Total Black: $67.13
Total Red: $230,258.15

A few days back I received a notice from my former law firm that COBRA payments for health insurance will be increasing.  Currently I pay $199.61 a month for medical and dental health insurance coverage through Aetna.  I didn’t opt in to the firm’s coverage until February 2009, once the Stimulus Package had been approved and passed, because it provided a significant subsidy for people who had been laid-off or were still unemployed.  Without that subsidy health care coverage would have been approximately $536.00 a month.  I doubted that I could afford it, especially when New York pays only $405.00 a week in unemployment benefits.  Now the subsidy has expired and I’m facing that question again.  The Stimulus Package funds only authorized nine months of subsidization.  Nine!  Congress decided to debate health care coverage and pass a health care bill, while not bothering to addressing the risk many will face by losing the coverage they have if the subsidies aren’t extended. Keep reading . . .

Written by Laid-off Lawyer

December 18, 2009 at 23:39

On the Road to Debt Freedom

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Total Black: $84.50
Total Red: $231,084.38

I received a beautiful and encouraging comment today.  Definitely helps keep me going knowing that others have managed to get out of debt.  I appreciate too that she acknowledged the hiccups or speed bumps we encounter along the way.  Every seems ready to harpoon you if you’re not willing to give up a “luxury” item or just can’t bring yourself to take a certain action or give up a purchase or something.  As I’ve said many times, people in debt are still people, with weaknesses and needs like all others. Keep reading . . .

Written by Laid-off Lawyer

November 18, 2009 at 23:53

Starting the Uphill Climb

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Total Black: $215.70
Total Red: $231,084.38

I received an email earlier today from the stage manager of the New World Stages about a possible position there.  I mentioned in Moonlighting that I had emailed her.  She said they’re only looking currently for holiday help.  I wrote back with a copy of my resume and mentioned my full availability.  It’s possible that my efforts could lead to two additional jobs.  The theatre gig and the recruiter gig with CHEST, the Hunter College social research position.  That may mean that on a given Thursday, I could end up working 9am – 5:30pm at the contract attorney position, then say 6:30pm to 10:30pm at the theater, and finally 11pm to 2am with the research position.  Wow.  That’ll be a rough pace to maintain.  But I’m certainly not getting out of debt without a struggle.  I’m ok with that, as long as the struggle builds character and is somewhat enjoyable along the way.

Payday will arrive on Thursday.  I really can’t wait.  It’s been nearly three weeks since I got paid.  Unemployment benefits did come through last week and the one before, but $385.00 isn’t much to live on.  And I need to pay my creditors.  I’m tired of the telephone ringing at 8:31 a.m.  Well, one good aspect to it, if my alarm doesn’t go off, I won’t end up sleeping too late.  They’re almost like my personal wake-up call.

Working on Wall Street

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Total Black: $419.81
Total Red: $230,977.94

Yesterday was my first day working on Wall Street.  It’s only a contract attorney position, but for the rest of my life I can now say that I worked on Wall Street.  The project isn’t spellbinding or anything, but it’ll do for awhile.  I share a workspace with two other people and there’s only a total of five people on the project, including myself.  Much of the day is quiet except for sporadic bursts of conversation.  We can work from 9 a.m. until 7 p.m. but only for a total of forty hours a week.  That means I can start at 9 a.m. and be out at 5:30 p.m. (the law requires us to take at least thirty minutes for lunch) or have two hours during the day and leave at 7 p.m.  I’d like to use those two hours to work out at the gym, but I first need to earn enough to reactivate my gym membership.

Money that came through last night from unemployment benefits is already promised for COBRA payments for last month and this.  So, that means I’ll be without much cash for another week.  I wonder how many other people get stuck in this feedback loop of just being able to cover monthly expenses but never able to apply anything to debts.

Written by Laid-off Lawyer

November 11, 2009 at 23:49

A New Day Has Dawned

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Total Black: $450.75
Total Red: $230,611.32

Unemployment benefits came through overnight.  New York state pays $405 a week maximum regardless of how much you earned last year.  Given that I owe back taxes, I’ve opted to have federal income tax withheld from my unemployment payments.  That means I net about $385 or so.  Three hundred of that is already promised in checks I cut this morning.  $199.61 to the law firm I worked for, for my monthly COBRA payment.  I also sent $50 to SallieMae and another $50 to a credit card.  That leaves me with approximately $85 until next week’s $405.  But I’ve been making ends meet on less, so that’s a near jackpot.  I have to use some of that for dry cleaning.  The rest will probably go for food.  That’s alright though.  Rent’s already been paid.  Living in Manhattan I don’t really have commuting expenses.  Utilities aren’t paid for yet, but that can wait until next week.  And I do have the interview later today for the temp job.  Things are stable for the moment.  Keep reading . . .

Bring It On

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Total Black: $2,389.54
Total Red: $230,589.98

First day back being unemployed.  I won’t be able to resume collecting unemployment benefits, however, until at least a week has passed.  That’s how New York state runs its system.  You have to wait a week to get your benefits.  I don’t see the logic in that.  It’s not like your expenses or bills wait a week.  I truly hope much-needed common sense gets injected into the social services systems. Keep reading . . .

Written by Laid-off Lawyer

October 26, 2009 at 22:58

Benefits They Call Them

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Total Black: $136.66
Total Red: $227,685.50

Unemployment benefits are a funny thing.  Until a few moments ago, I thought we paid for unemployment through payroll taxes.  We don’t.  According to the New York State Department of Labor, “Unemployment insurance is temporary income for eligible workers who become unemployed through no fault of their own and who are ready, willing, and able to work.  You must have sufficient work and wages in covered employment.  In New York State, the money for unemployment insurance benefits comes from taxes paid by employers.  No deductions are ever made from a worker’s paycheck for unemployment insurance.”  Here I thought unemployment benefits were like social security disability benefits, and just as Binder & Binder reminded me, I needn’t feel ashamed to claim them because I’ve earned them.  Alas, it’s not true. Keep reading . . .