Merry Christmas, Poor People (Your Government Hates You)
If you’re poor (or still poor) and trying to claw your way back to some semblance of an income, you may have received a letter that looks something like this:
State of Despair
Department of Workforce Services
200 S. Oak Lane
Seneca Falls, NY OOOOO
Employer: That buddy you covered a shift for at the bar
Date of Hire: 10/05/2012
Response Deadline: 12/26/2012
The Department of Workforce Services, Poverty Shaming Division has received information that you were hired by the above named employer. Didn’t think we’d find about that half a shift at the bar you worked for your friend, did you? Agency records indicate that you filed a continued claim and/or received possibly hundreds of dollars during a period of time in which you may also have been employed. Little did you know those six hours were going to cost you. Actually doing work anyway you can get it? Big mistake.
Because, while you were busy desperately seeking work and applying for jobs more often than a chimpanzee jerks off, you didn’t report those hours you worked. And you definitely didn’t report all that dough you made when you filed for the weeks after the date of hire. Like seriously, why didn’t the bar just slip you some cash under the table and call it quits? That’s the kind of paper trail that’ll keep you from ever becoming someone important or respectable. Like a banker.
When filing your continued claims you are asked “Did you work that week.” If you’re lucky enough to work even one hour, for any employer, you must report the number of hours you worked and your gross earnings for that week (no matter how pathetic). Per state law you are required to report all earnings when earned not when paid. That’s so we can deduct monies from your unemployment benefit when earnings are reported, not whenever that manager actually remembers to send you a check.
Working, earning wages and failing to report such work/wages while filing for unemployment insurance benefits may constitute FRAUD. This is hundreds of dollars we’re talking about here. There’s no such thing as “an honest mistake” when dealing with sums in the hundreds of dollars. Remember, until your fiscal irresponsibility can be measured in billions and threatens the well-being of the entire nation, you can still be PROSECUTED for your actions. If you actually try to do some odd jobs here and there, your unemployment benefit will be detrimentally affected. Seriously, if you were able to get a hundred dollars here, a hundred dollars there, and a couple hundred in government assistance, you might actually put enough together to climb out of that hole you’re in.
Fraud determination will result in a 52 week disqualification from receiving benefits. Listen, this state owes a great deal of money. And under the recently enacted initiative, “Final Scroogelution” the state deemed it best to recoup this debt by collecting small (well, not to you) amounts of money from a great many individuals who cannot afford it. This policy is much more popular among the influential wealthy types we’re courting than the more logical, “collect small amounts of money from select individuals wealthy enough to afford it (and then some).”
Remember, individuals may be criminally prosecuted, fined, and/or imprisoned for committing fraud and will be required to repay any benefits determined to be overpaid. Spill countless barrels worth of oil polluting an entire ecosystem, or pilfer billions of dollars through complex investment fraud ruining the savings of innocent people, but don’t fuck around when this fine state kicks you a few hundred dollars. That, “Please, sir. May I have some more” —shit doesn’t fly in this state. Be happy you were even deemed failure enough to receive the $294.47 we gave you. This is America. Just pull yourself up by your own bootstraps already.
To assist in this investigation and minimize the risk of a fraudulent overpayment, please contact Benefit Payment Control at the number below by the response deadline above. We are also contacting the employer for a breakdown of the actual wages earned for each week in question. This might require an entire phone call. It sounds like a lot of work. We may even find a way to bill you for this. Determinations will be made based our mood. This may result in a 52-week disqualification from receiving benefits and the denial of benefits paid resulting in an overpayment which must repaid to this agency. Thank you for your cooperation and fuck you.
ATTN: Overpayment and Investigations
Poverty Shaming Division
The Big Building Paid for in Part with Your Taxes
FUCK, YU OOOOO
p.s. Bailing you out makes us sick. This country is full of great examples of self-reliance to emulate. Just look at the current captains of industry. Jamie Dimon, Lloyd Blankfein, John D Baker, Rex Tillerson…now those are Americans. You won’t see any of those fine men coming to the government looking for handouts.
Cover Image Credit: “Hooverville” Washington State Archives/Digital Archives