It has happened, on occasion, that I overreact and then need to walk back my rage or indignation. Throughout the pandemic, it has not happened often. That is a sad reality. Think about it, I see someone getting screwed by the UI division or catch a press conference that infers significant consequences on millions of people. My knee jerk reaction is to be pissed and head to my studio. I should be wrong more often, but I’m not! That, in itself, is upsetting.
Together with the Wisconsin Unemployment ACTION Group there is a protest being planned for Labor Day. What better moment than a day to celebrate laborers to stand up and be heard about the injustices and oppression heaped on the very laborers we are celebrating. People do not wish to be on unemployment. Its an absolute nightmare. People have no desire to sign up for emergency food stamps. Its humiliating. Yet . . . here we are.
A recent situation that has seriously affected my ability to remain calm came to my attention in the wee hours of the morning today. SSDI recipients have been treated like a population of individuals unworthy of the governments scraps, let alone the benefits they are rightly entitled to. After four months of fighting for their rights, vindication came in the form of a letter from the Department of Labor. Once and for all, the argument was settled. In Wisconsin, while SSDI recipients are not eligible for Reg UI due to state law (108.04 (12)(f), they are entitled to federal pandemic benefits.
The good news doesn’t end there. Not only are recipients eligible, but because Wisconsin doesn’t even recognize them as a working class, the state is forbidden from adjusting their benefits due to the amount of SSDI income they receive. So, to be completely clear, SSDI recipients are eligible for min. of $163/week with the PUA program. This amount can not be adjusted down, and regardless of income earned and if it would qualify or be a lesser amount under state UI statues and standards, the Wisconsin UI department does not have the legal right to adjust this minimum earning.
Not only is the UI division continuing to deny SSDI recipients and put them through pointless appeal hearings, they are now attempting to process them through the Reg UI system, which is a violation of state law and why these folks weren’t paid in the first place back in March! When recipients inquire, they are told that programing the system to pay SSDI requires manual computations of benefits and other steps that are taking an extended period of time. Uh . . . what computations?
This is NOT right and we must stand with these people until these wrongs are made right. As I continue my research, listen in this week as I share some crazy stories from claimants across the state and also welcome a few to come and share their stores themselves!