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It was springtime 2020 in Los Angeles — or as I called it, my hellish coronavirus adventure trying to reach another human in Sacramento. Like a teenager obsessed with winning concert tickets from a radio station, I began dialing furiously. It was 7:55 a.m., and I was trying to deal with my unemployment benefits.Here’s my story. Like other freelancers and contractors in L.A., I have a variety of side hustles that allow me to work in creative industries ubiquitous across the Southland. I share this lifestyle with many stylists, event producers, publicists, social-media marketers, photographers, set designers and countless other “for-hire” workers who suddenly found themselves relegated to their couches when the coronavirus hit the U.S. hard three months ago.Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, I thought I’d get ahead of the coming deluge of millions of people seeking assistance from the state.
I filed for unemployment on March 16. Mail started coming about a week later. There was the letter about verifying my identity. I quickly dispatched the requested items to Sacramento. Also in the initial mail rush was an invitation to create an online account for “faster service.”I eagerly went through the steps. And …
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