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The Obama Plan: Free 18 Months of Unemployment Pay

Updated on October 13, 2011

My buddy get s $2058 a month for a year and a half

First, I know there are people who are struggling to find a job and I genuinely feel bad and don't want it to look like I am making fun. I will try to give as much constructive help as I can also.

So, we're at the bar last night and my friend is happy, has money to spend and is not working.He had been at the same company for almost 5 years and was laid off last month and is now on unemployment (which he calls "The Obama Plan".Reference to socialism?

"Being on the Obama plan is not so bad", he declares. He gets the maximum of $475 a week ($950 every 2 weeks) like clockwork. I took the $475 a week times times 52 weeks divided by 12 months to get the $2058 number. It's about what he was getting before after taxes.... Yet he doesn't have to work.

I had felt sorry for him when he lost his job, but strangely, I found myself a little bit jealous. Yes, he was going on Craigslist now and then, but he is going to the gym an hour a day, was taking up photography and has time for everything with very little stress. Made me think.

What you get on unemployment:

He made about $800 or $900 a week so he qualified to get the $450 max (plus $25 gets kicked in by Federal bail out money).

California Unemployment Benefits

The minimum weekly benefit is $40. The maximum weekly benefit is $450. The weekly UI benefit amount depends on the highest income in a calendar during the previous four quarters. The four quarters do not include the current quarter as well as the previous one. For example, a claim made on October 1st does not include the quarter after June 30th of the current year.

I don't know what someone would have been having to have made to get only $40 a week, but I imagine it would be very little.


Ultimately, my friend was laid off so it was an open and shut case to get unemployment for hm. I have seen people who were fired for a number of reasons still manage to get unemployment.
This is the circumstance under which you would normally get unemployment:

California Unemployment Insurance Eligibility

To apply for unemployment insurance (UI) benefits as well as continue UI benefits, the worker must be unemployed through no fault of his own. If the worker has been laid off, he is eligible for UI benefits. If the worker was fired, UI eligibility depends on the circumstances of the termination. However, many fired workers have been successful at getting unemployment benefits in California. In most cases, workers who voluntarily resign are not eligible for UI benefits.

There are other circumstances which may make a worker ineligible including:

  • School employees unemployed due to scheduled student recess
  • Refuse a job
  • Stop looking for a job
  • Go to school during typical hours for the worker's occupation
  • Not physically or mentally able to work
  • Not able to work due to lack of childcare

One unusual circumstance that comes up occasionally is when the employer offers the worker the chance to submit a voluntary resignation in lieu of getting laid off, fired, or terminated. Although there is no fast and hard rule as to whether to voluntarily resign, keep in mind that being terminated no longer has the stigma it used to have during better economic times. If the company has a signed voluntary resignation letter, it may be much more difficult to claim unemployment benefits.

This happened to another friend where in reality, he probably did quit, but came back and said he was forced out. Thankfully, he did not even put date on the one sentence resignation they had him sign and he won the case.

Ok, the picture above is not my friend

Is he taking advantage of the system? I don't know. He is happier. I am a wee bit jealous. I don't feel he is looking very hard. But, that's the system.

24K a year to do nothing.... What incentive does he have to take a 28k a year job?

Is it too easy?

Is the unemployment system fair for us still working?

See results

How do extend your unemployment longer?

Once you get unemployment (in California anyways), you get about 26 weeks the first cycle.

The first extension is usually seamless and gives you another 20 weeks without having to do anything, but continue to fill out your bi-weekly form which you check off "Yes, I looked for work", etc.

The second extension is the same for yet another 20 weeks,

I am told on the 3rd extension, you actually have to start proving that you applied or looked for work.


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    • carol7777 profile image

      carol stanley 

      7 years ago from Arizona

      I also wonder what the incentive is to find work for some. However, the unemployment benefits are not going to last forever. We are in a tough spot today. Those who really want to work cannot find work. However, if you can find anything it is better than nothing at all.

    • festersporling1 profile imageAUTHOR

      Daniel Christian 

      9 years ago from Los Angeles, CA


      I did want to try and be careful because I know the value for people who really need it and I never wanted to put it down for them. I can definitely appreciate it that way and I wish you the absolute best in your situation.


    • profile image


      9 years ago

      During the time I was unemployed there were no tech jobs in Sacramento CA. I filed my bankruptcy like so many others did and practically starved my self in order to pay my attorney. I went right back to work as soon as the Bankruptcy was discharged. Sure enough I worked for a month and a half and the Tech Giant in the area who will remain nameless let me go on a contract position after a month and a half. Now I have to reapply for unemployment and would prefer to be working. I also am trying to be a student at the same time. Working and trying to go to school makes my head spin. But finding an employer in general is really hard in this market and even harder for those who want to go to work and school at the same time. We pay into the system so that it is there to back us when we fall. If you start forcing america to slow or shut down this system it will not be there when YOU fall. So don't lump everyone into one category. We still have a business real estate crash to go through before things can get better. Can you imagine how many additional lay off and extensions there will be cause of these issues.

    • festersporling1 profile imageAUTHOR

      Daniel Christian 

      9 years ago from Los Angeles, CA

      I am happy for him. In some cases, it's definitely a life saver. I wish him the best in his job hunt!

    • habee profile image

      Holle Abee 

      9 years ago from Georgia

      My son-in-law just got his unemployment approved - thank goodness! But he's looking hard for a job because he's going crazy staying at home with the kids. They can't afford daycare since he's not working.

    • festersporling1 profile imageAUTHOR

      Daniel Christian 

      9 years ago from Los Angeles, CA

      Ya, it does depend on what you were making before. Thanks for confirming that information. :)


    • JannyC profile image


      9 years ago

      Informative hub.I wish I had it that easy on unemployment. I didnt make much to beign with so I dont get much back. And yes on the third extention you do have send in your job hunting sheet in where you applied who you talked to ect...

    • festersporling1 profile imageAUTHOR

      Daniel Christian 

      9 years ago from Los Angeles, CA

      Ya, in many cases, this is true. And they seem to keep extending. It really is applicable if someone's bills are under $2000. If you have a family, probably won't work. I generally need to make upwards of 4k. But what's to keep someone who is getting this free 2k, from doing side work also?

    • ehern33 profile image


      9 years ago

      Wow, you really have to think about that question of what is the incentive to look for work? Probably none. Have to wait towards the end of his benefits to see how motivated he gets to find work knowing that the benefits are about to run out. Unless ofcourse, they extend the benefits again.


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