All rise! The ol’ Paragraph Stacker gets his hearing

I finally got a hearing set with an administrative law judge to arbitrate my eligibility for an extended unemployment benefits program. This is something I’ve fought for since August.

The hearing is set for the Thursday of my first week of student teaching — because of course it is.

When you finally have a breakthrough with the bureaucracy, don’t expect that to be convenient. I’ll make my best case that I’m meeting the standards the program requires. I know I’m getting the kind of training the state approves.

They said so by approving the training and removing the requirement that I apply for jobs while I’m in school. Arbitration means the judge will decide in my favor or not. That’s the end of it.

If the judge decides in my favor, I’ll receive back pay to a specific date and be eligible for weekly benefits until school ends. If the judge rules against me, that’s I am out of options.

Let’s hope that doesn’t happen.

Until then, I’ve got to float two more weeks without income until student loans deposit to make rent, insurance, and so on. I put in some expensive-but-necessary car maintenance.

I have to drive about half an hour for my student teaching placement, so I want my car to be in as good as shape as we can get it.

I know things are tight for people after the holidays, but anything and everything helps. I always hope this will be the last time I have to write and ask.

I believe the day is fast approaching when I write the exciting news of a new teaching position and a new career launched by hundreds of hands holding me up in my most desperate hours.

Every one of you has shown me this unconditional love that is so beautiful it feels as if each of you are close, intimate friends or family. A lot of people live their whole lives without that feeling. I am grateful to all of you for reminding me what grace truly is.

The last lap starts soon. I start student teaching a week from Monday. We start a week earlier than Drake’s semester begins. My nerves are high. This is the time when I find out if I can do this job or if I’ve made a blunder. I don’t think I’m going to fail, but anticipation is the worst part of everything.

We just keep moving forward.

If you’re inclined to donate to the cause, the details are at:

With love and hope,

Daniel P. Finney

Post: 1217 24th St., Apt. 36, Des Moines, 50311.
Zelle: 515-371-9453.

Daniel P. Finney wrote for newspapers for 27 years before being laid off in 2020. He teaches middle school English now. He writes columns and podcasts for, a free, reader-supported website. Please consider donating $10 a month to help him cover the expenses of this site.
Post: 1217 24th St., Apt. 36, Des Moines, 50311.

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