I've been trying to keep myself busy freelancing, and I've been quite successful at it. I'm getting all kinds of assignments that have me working almost every day. But mathematically, I'm finding that it's a tremendous waste of my time.
Everything I earn has to be declared as earnings with the unemployment office, and it has to be declared in the week that I do the work, even though I don't actually get paid for it until as much as two months afterward. Then, my weekly benefit check for unemployment - that's unemployment INSURANCE, btw, not welfare, but something I've contributed to during all my years working - is reduced by 80 percent of whatever I've earned in that week. (But the full amount of my "eligible benefits" is subtracted from the total I'm allowed every week.) Plus 15 percent is deducted for taxes. Plus 31 percent of the full benefit amount goes for child support. Plus I don't get reimbursement for mileage - and I'm often traveling an hour or more, one way, for a story. Plus I'll get taxed at a higher rate for my so-called "self-employment" income at the end of the year.
All told, it's costing me money to work. The system disincentivizes any attempt to be productive. I could be sitting at home getting my full benefits, but I'm out there freelancing instead - working every day - and they're taking it all away from me. It seems that I'm only doing it so that I can say I'm freelancing rather than saying, "I'm unemployed."