Is Unemployment Insurance Welfare? NO!

NO, is the simple answer.  After hearing my question to Candidate Newt Gingrich about the unemployed, a listener from Texas took exception.

Gingrich has said he doesn’t want to pay the unemployed for “doing nothing.”  I contend that the unemployed aren’t just sitting around collecting unemployment checks – they ARE looking for work and jobs that can help them pay their bills.  I said to the former House Speaker that I WAS recently unemployed and I wasn’t living “high on the hog” on those unemployment checks.  The listener in Texas thinks that if you aren’t working two jobs you are lazy and living off “welfare.”

Brian Moore wrote “I love how you are upset that the government check wasn’t enough? I was unemployed as well and took two entry level jobs (i.e. bus boy) to make ends meet. You decided to not stoop to that level and live off the government bread. I was taught by my parents that welfare was a shame for the able bodied. Doesn’t look like your parents taught you the same thing.”

His childish insults aside, what Brian doesn’t understand and is misinformed about is the difference between welfare and unemployment.  You and I pay into Unemployment Insurance along with our employers.  It’s compulsory.  You DON’T GET that unemployment check unless you have held a job and there is a finite amount of money in that account.  There’s no shame in claiming that money which is meant to help you pay your bills and stay afloat while you find another job.  If you get in a car accident and total your car do you accept the check from the Insurance Company?

In Florida, where (official) unemployment was last reported just below 10%, nearly ½ of all homes in Tampa Bay are underwater, and the economy is struggling after Hurricanes and Oil Spills, jobs are very hard to come by.  And employers continue to fire workers not for “cause” but simply “BEcause.”  I do know people that have taken on restaurant jobs because they can’t find work in their field and their unemployment checks have run out.  We are all doing whatever it takes to survive this Recession as we hinge on the threat of a Global Depression with economic instability in Europe.

Brian insists there are “1,000’s” of jobs listed on  Have you EVER known someone to get a job on Monster?  That’s laughable.  The best way to find a job remains through your personal contacts.  I started looking for work 30 minutes after loosing my job and I began talking with my now-current employer months before they were prepared to hire me.  The process takes longer than you’d like.  “Of the 600 job seekers in a recent survey polled, 77 percent were unemployed. The rest had jobs.  Of the more than three-quarters who were unemployed, nearly half had been out of work for more than a year.”  The fact that I got a job within 6 months of being terminated is evidence that I was networking and working hard to find a new job.  I used the time that I had “off” wisely.

With Mr. Moore’s logic, public education is also welfare but he has no problem putting his kids in public schools?  My parents put six kids through private school.  But Mr. Moore believes that schools started in churches to teach kids scripture!  I can only guess he’s never heard of Plato?

Unemployment Insurance is meant to supplement not meant to replace income.  You must save for a rainy day and I did so that I didn’t have to make any desperate moves.  The unemployment checks meant I was able to supplement my savings while focusing on finding work that would cover all my expenses.  It appears that Brian didn’t save for that rainy day so he was forced to take two “entry level” jobs to make ends meet.

Brian says “It (Insurance) shouldn’t be paid to the government in the first place. The people shouldn’t apply for it and the government shouldn’t take it.”  Brian didn’t take it because he considers it “lazy” or “welfare.”  It’s his money that he’s not taking and that’s his choice but I hope he educates himself on the difference.  I tried.

You can read the entire exchange on my Facebook page and let me know what you think:

I know it’s difficult out there to find work, a decent wage, and come out whole on the other side of this Recession.  It’s not easy and I hope your path back to gainful employment isn’t a long one.  I know employers are more likely to hire someone who is already working in their field instead of someone who has been out of work.  If you want – or need – to collect that Unemployment check I hope you do.


Keep the Faith!

Corey Dylan


One thought on “Is Unemployment Insurance Welfare? NO!

  1. I am generally on the GOP side of things. Call me a Conservative if you like. I generally come down on that side of the aisle on the issues. However, having been out of work TWICE since 2009, I am not ashamed to have collected unemployment insurance. Because as you state Corey, we pay into it. I was fortunate enough to have years of continuous employment where I paid into the system and my attitude is why I am not ashamed for having taken it. I also believe this is an unusual time in our country and benefits need to be extended for those who need them. I would not be opposed however if after 26 weeks, in order to continue to receive them, you need to have documented proof that you are looking for work.

    And yes..during the time I collected, I worked part time to extend benefits.

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