Friday, September 30, 2011

Unemployed and Counting...

In my previous post I discussed my loss of employment in the heart of one of the toughest economic downturns the country has seen in more than a half-century.  It came at the beginning of a presidency filled with hope and change.

Fast forward ten months from Inauguration Day to October 2009.  This is when the situation began to go from bad to worse.

Despite my reluctance, I filed for unemployment benefits in April.  Meantime, nearly every temp agency I signed up with was inundated with applicants and short on assignments, so 'stop gap' measures grew more difficult.  Worse, every resume submitted was either ignored or responded to with a rejection letter.  Things were looking grim.

What's more, as my nest egg dwindled, I increasingly worried about my ability to pay my mortgage.  President Obama passed the Making Homes Affordable program in March 2009 and banks, including mine--Chase--began accepting applications in April. 

Going into this, I wasn't looking to the banks to do this gratis, and I didn't expect the bank to lose money on me either.  Simply put, I was looking to stretch out my savings in case this bout of unemployment lasted longer than expected.  My hope was that the interest rate could be lowered which, in turn, would lower my monthly payment; The bank would still make a profit off of me, just not as much.

From the beginning of the process (April 2009), advisors from Chase informed me to continue paying my mortgage because it would better my chances of being approved for the MHA program.   From April until October--when I finally received a decision--they repeatedly requested additional paperwork that was not part of the requirements, asked for resubmissions because they 'lost' my information or claimed they never received information (despite "successful" fax receipts).  What a bureaucratic nightmare!  Nevertheless, was told all along that my chances were good given my excellent credit rating and superb history of paying my mortgage on time.

To my surprise the letter arrived and stated that I was not eligible for the program because my situation was not of a permanent nature.  More specifically, they stated that unemployment was not of a permanent nature.  Hopefully not, but it was clear that the President and Congress passed this legislation to help those who were finding themselves in a long-term unemployment situation. what?  I wasn't going to take this lying down.  I jumped through their hoops and I followed the rules and according to Congress, I qualified for this assistance!  The media would have a field day with this...and I was just the one to tell them!

(please forgive the background noise of a friend giggling at various spots during the story)

My story continues here...

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