No Unemployment Money For Blagojevich

By Marcus Gilmer in News on Jan 31, 2009 7:30PM

2009_01_31_blago.jpg At the jam session ex-governor Rod Blagojevich held at his house Thursday night after being removed from office, he said, "There are tens of thousands of people all across America, just like me who are losing their jobs or lost their jobs." Well, those people were laid off, not fired, Rod. Big difference. But this raised the interesting question of whether or not Blago is eligible for unemployment benefits. WBEZ spoke with Greg Rivara, spokesman for the Illinois Department of Employment Security, who are having enough problems these days without dealing with Blago.

Rivara says, "People are qualified for unemployment insurance if they lose their job through no fault of their own, and they are looking for gainful employment." Of course, if you get "discharged for cause," you're not eligible to collect. So does impeachment count as such? "I don’t know the answer to that question," said Rivara. "That question has never been considered. It’s a road we’ve never had to travel."

It's another rule, however, that disqualifies Blago from getting the benefits: because politicians don't contribute portions of their wages to unemployment. Rivara confirms: "No elected official would be eligible to qualify for unemployment insurance based upon the wages that they earn in their official capacity." Sorry, Rod. We're sure you can use that charm of yours to scare up some nice tips waiting tables. [WBEZ]

AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh