Jobless Claims: Booming Biz in Bust Era

Getting laid off, sorting out the paperwork and figuring out how you'll make ends meet on an unemployment check is hard enough. Now, enter a company called Talx, whose job it is to manage unemployment claims on behalf of the companies doing mass layoffs. Most former employees who have worked with them feel that their idea of "managing" is to make it infinitely more difficult to file a claim and get your first check.

Owned by credit-rating behemoth Equifax, Talx claims to handle more than 30% of the nation's requests for jobless benefits. Its fees are paid by the firm doing the layoffs, and major US companies such as Aetna, AT&T, Best Buy, FedEx, Home Depot, Marriott, McDonald's, the Postal Service, Cargill, Target, Tyson Foods, WalMart and Wells Fargo have used it.

Here's why Talx is not a company you want to hear from: They claim that their mission is to "protect" those who have lost jobs through no fault of their own and help them get the benefits they're entitled to. But the fact is, companies like Talx are paid by the former employer, not the employee, so you can guess who they're really protecting.

You see, every company pays unemployment taxes based on how many successful claims are filed against them. For example, the company that lays off 100 people and is paying unemployment benefits to them will be taxed at a much higher rate than the company that laid off five people. Companies generally hire firms like Talx to "negotiate" fewer unemployment benefit payments so their taxes will be lower.

In all fairness, another reason that companies like Talx are hired is that their employees are reported to be specialists in the field of unemployment filings, and as such can deal with legal issues much more efficiently than in-house legal departments, which have limited unemployment experience.

Still, if you've just been laid off and they contact you, it means your former employer has called in the big guns to try to handle your unemployment claim for you and the goal isn't to make it pretty, fast or simple. They're known for contesting all claims, regardless of merit.

For example, you file a perfectly legitimate unemployment claim, then Talx files an appeal with the state, making a lengthy hearing and negotiation procedure necessary. Talx reps are notorious for not even showing up for the hearing, so even if the claim is decided in your favor, you've gone several weeks--even months--without receiving a check.

The strategy seems to be that some people will simply give up if they're entangled in enough red tape. If you receive a notice from third party negotiator like Talx, hang in there and don't despair. State officials are becoming wise to these tactics, and are often siding with the workers.

In fact, some states, including Wisconsin, Iowa, Connecticut and New York, are getting wise to these "procedural abuses" and have passed laws, filed complaints or created policies to protect the unemployed.

However, if you live elsewhere, have been laid off and see an envelope with the name Talx in your mailbox, it's probably best to, in the immortal words of Bette Davis, "Fasten your seat belts;" the road to your unemployment check is going to be a bumpy one.

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I am NOT saying that there aren't companies out there who are unscrupulous or even who operate illegally. Sadly, there are. This article implied, to me, that ALL UC claiims will come under fire and THAT is not true. Most people will not be affected by this. If you have an issue of discrimination at you former employer, there are venues for you to utilize to investigate your allegations. Contact the EEOC, as a starting point, and tell them your story. If there is merit to it, while it may take some time, they will investigate it.

April 12 2010 at 8:05 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Since when does ANY state in the union "help" the unemployed? Every state in this country is FOR THE EMPLOYER and NOT the employee.

April 12 2010 at 5:54 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Bring back the "Pink Slip" system. Once you are laid off, your employer must give you notice (Pink Slip) which will be the only thing you will need to collect your unemploymentg benefits.

April 12 2010 at 5:12 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Well written article and a great warning to all. Thanks.

April 12 2010 at 4:57 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I have been out of work for a year, approaching 60, but with several
outstanding degrees, I now have a legitimate gig earning 800/day
working for myself in a Fortune 500 corporation. These get rich schemes
prey upon the desperate and foolish. Many years ago, I went to night
school for 7 years. Now I joust with workers half my age, because
I love to learn and will continue to be challenged. America is for the
resourceful and diligent. My daughter lives in the NYC co-op I paid off 30 years ago, so no banker can chase after her.

April 12 2010 at 3:53 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I lost my job three months ago and didn't know what to do. After a frustrating and discouraging job search, I decided to start my own home business. Instead of clicking on some spam website, I decided to truly provide a product that people want: hos! That's right, I became a pimp! The working conditions are great and I make incredible profits providing a product for people who would otherwise not find any physical affection on their own.

Pimpin' has changed my life forever!

April 12 2010 at 3:52 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to gr8bsn's comment

What did one hooker say to the other hooker? "Can you lend me $20 bux till I get back on my back again?" Just tryin to lighten the moment.

April 12 2010 at 11:12 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

You people do realize that you're hurling insults at a computer right? This same message shows up on every article under a different name. Arguing with a word/name generator program = fail.

April 12 2010 at 3:48 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I lost my job about three months ago and wasn't about to look for another job! We sent the three kids to livewith their Aunt Hilda. We had a mortgage to pay but when I ran into a buddy he offered to let sleep in his shed.

Now I'm not making any money but I'm loving getting those welfare checks every month!

Try it my way and I guarantee that you will be living better than ever!

April 12 2010 at 2:16 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Must be reading this on the SPAM network, I mean AOL.

April 12 2010 at 1:42 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I'm not confused by the article, but the ending made me wonder. Who the hell is Betty Davis? Is she any relation to Bette Davis, the fine American film actress who made a remark about seat belts in the film "All About Eve"? Nah, probably not. Davis is a common surname.

April 12 2010 at 1:36 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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