The House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Income Security and Family Support is holding a hearing this week on June 10 titled: Hearing on Responding to Long-Term Unemployment. I asked readers of Rochester Unemployment Examiner to send me letters they wrote to the Committee that they also wanted me to publish. Below are some of those letters. I’ll be posting other letters as I receive permission.

From M. B. in CA:

I lost my job of 20 years as a Software Manager in July of 2008. After several months of intense job hunting, I realized there were few opportunities in my field of expertise and even fewer opportunities for a 50+ woman.

Believe me age discrimination is alive and thriving in this economy! I enrolled in a Microsoft Application Specialist Certification Program in May of 2009 in order to change careers. My prior skills and experience coupled with the Microsoft Certifications should have given me the leg up to secure a position as an Administrative Assistant or an Office Manager. It is now May of 2010, I’ve sent hundreds of resumes to every open position I can find all of which yielded one interview and no job.

I am on the net everyday for several hours searching for jobs on 5 different job sites and local company web sites. My business profile is on several networking sites and I have reached out to past school mates and coworkers with no results. I meet biweekly with the Job Specialist in my local Career Center. I attend every job fair hosted in the area. I don’t know what more I can do. The fact is I’m a 55 year old professional woman and no one wants to hire me. I am overqualified for entry level positions and too old for a position in my field of expertise.

I have exhausted my savings and my unemployment benefits. I have no choice but to pay the early withdrawal penalties so I can cash in some of my 401K Account and pay my mortgage and living expenses for a little longer. When that’s gone I don’t know what I’ll do.

It’s very hard for me to convey the fear and desperation I feel. During the last forty years, beginning as a teen with summer jobs I’ve always been able to find work. Now everything I’ve worked for, everything I’ve accumulated during my lifetime is evaporating before my eyes because I can’t find employment.  All my life I’ve done what society has asked of me. I worked hard, lived within my means, paid my bills and taxes, helped others less fortunate than myself, saved for a rainy day, saved for retirement, and now I’m looking at complete and utter financial collapse because there aren’t enough jobs for everyone that needs one.

Congress must pass the Tier V Extension until job creation matches the demand in this country. I know there are many baby boomers like me, finding themselves in similar situations and because we represent such a large portion of the population the decisions we are being forced to make will impact everyone. As our numbers exhaust their unemployment benefits with still no jobs in sight, our homes will join the millions already in foreclosure. With our retirement funds exhausted before we reach retirement age we will become dependent on government programs in our retirement years. As we default on credit cards and loan payments everyone’s ability to borrow will be impacted.

I agree it is a real concern as to how to pay for the extension of benefits, however I truly believe the financial impact of not extending benefits represents a greater threat to the economy. The economy simply needs more time to recover and create jobs. Please don’t abandon the American Workers in their time of need. All our lives we’ve worked and paid taxes often used to prop up economies in other countries. Now we need to do the same for the citizens of the USA.

From M. W. in MA:

Dear Sirs/Madams,

My name is M. W.and I am a resident of Massachusetts and citizen of the greatest country in the world the United States of America. Sadly my life has become that of a bad movie, or of a stereotype I never thought I’d find myself in. My life changed drastically on October 4th, 2008 when I lost my job of 8 years with Best Buy.

In my 18 years of being eligible to work I worked for 2 Companies Sears and Best Buy. In both companies I started making very little and worked my way up through my excellent performance to a financial level I never thought obtainable. With Best Buy I had even gotten so far as to make close to 6 figures a year.

Two years before I lost my job I purchased my first home and was one of many foolish Americans who were duped into purchasing a dual flexible interest loan (through Countrywide). When I lost my job it began the sad process of me losing my home after over 60k in payments (my daughters college fund essentially) amongst other painful debts that I’ve accrued in some cruel downward spiral. When I worked for Best Buy I was offered dozens of jobs from the competition for more money but I was foolishly loyal and passed on them thinking that I’d be able to retire doing something I loved.

When I was let go by Best Buy it left me in the vast pool of qualified who were essentially locked out of opportunities. Sure Career Builder and appear to have job opportunities, and other companies post job openings on their sites but out of the hundreds of jobs that I’ve applied for I’ve gotten only a handful of interviews. I’ve essentially knocked on doors, walked into stores, handing my resume to a store manager. Just hoping, that perhaps my timing would improve and that I’d at least get face time with someone. Instead what little face time I’ve received has been responded with the same retort, “we’re sorry but you’re overqualified for this position.” And despite my explaining that I was willing to start over and earn my way back I’ve been passed over by internal applicants (which I understand them being afraid of the message they’d send by hiring an outsider during such a difficult time in our country.).

I’m not looking for a handout. I’ve spent hundreds of thousands of dollars contributing to state/federal taxes over the years and until recent had never asked or received any type of support from the government. I’ve even had to get Food Stamps during the gaps when I was unsure if I’d get an extension over the course of my unemployment. Even with the maximum reimbursement I’m still making 40% of my last salary and my bills haven’t dwindled to 40%. I am a single father of the most beautiful 7 year old girl. She is an excellent student and just wonderful human being and it pains me to think of the consequences that lay ahead of something doesn’t change. I need this. She needs this. We need this.


M. R. W.

Proud father and American Citizen

From M. M. in TX:

My name is M. M. and I have been looking for a new position since August 6, 2007.  I am 55 years old, divorced, no children and this extended unemployment has taken a personal toll on me from which I may never economically recover.  In the past three years, I almost lost my house to foreclosure, but by the Grace of God managed after two failed offers, to sell the house for at least 30 thousand under what I paid for it.  At the moment I lost my job, the housing market began to fall in Los Lunas, New Mexico where I was working.  I went thru my savings to try to continue paying my bills and mortgage and cut back on many things.  Finally in December of 2007 I gave up and moved back with my elderly eighty-six year old mother, sister and her children.

In the past three years several times unemployment has run out and I have been forced to sell all but fifteen boxes in assorted sizes of my belongings because my family could provide a roof over my head but could not afford my expenses and food.  I give them when I have money what I can, but I cannot thank them enough for all they have done for me, for their faith and encouragement.  I could have been out on the streets, but I was blessed to have a wonderful family.

I have applied for hundreds of jobs, full time and part time.  I have a master’s degree in Engineering Management and watched our manufacturing sector shrink over the years.  I am not proud, I have applied for any positions I feel I am remotely or “over” qualified as my father who was a migrant farm worker when I was a small child taught me that honest work is good work no matter what it is.  I have had maybe eight interviews in the past three years and one, well went down to a disappointing finish where I was jerked around for three weeks and then told that the company hired a friend of someone who worked in the company as they liked to use referrals.

In this past three years my credit has been destroyed as I was unable to pay my credit card bills. This very factor will make future employment almost impossible in some areas and reduce my options even further. So now I am being penalized more for something I had no control over..  The second mortgage was not written off like the balance of the first but instead hangs as a $27,000 dollar debt on my credit report.  That one I do not understand as I provided them the hardship information but then Washington Mutual was not cooperative in any fashion causing me to lose the first offer.  By the way, my house was not some fancy beyond my means house.  It was a small three-bedroom house in New Mexico that IF I had been able to find another position, I could have continued to live in, instead of living in a small room filled with my remaining things and memories of a better time.

I have also lost my car, not to repossession because it was ten years old and paid for, but from a hailstorm that came through Austin, Texas and destroyed my windows and frame of the car with golf ball sized hail.  I was unable to purchase even a “commuter” car because I had to use the money to eat.  Oh yes I am on food stamps, but goodness for people who have a steady income, try juggling food on that amount allotted in stamps.  I do not eat fancy and haven’t eaten dinner out in at least a couple of years.  I do the best I can with what I have.

Forget health insurance, as I have not been to a doctor in three years, unable to afford it and in the state of Texas I do not qualify for any health help.  I have lost two teeth and a third one is cracked and there isn’t anything I can do except pray that my health and teeth hold up.  I am sure the level of stress is very detrimental to good health.

I am grateful for the unemployment and sick of reading all the discouraging news articles about how people my age and length of employment may never find another position, will have to take menial jobs or some other awful fate for us.  I will not give up because I am not a quitter, but I am amazed that we can send hundreds of millions of our tax dollars to countries like South Africa for AIDS help but cannot provide medical help for people like me.  I am sick of work visas given to foreigners while many of us are out of work.  I am sick of illegal residents receiving benefits we paid for with our work and taxes while the rest of us scrape by wondering what we will do next.

We are not lazy people enjoying a life of leisure.  We are simply displaced workers who are trying to live and trying to be viable members of society.  You think discrimination doesn’t exist in subtle forms?  Try being a 55 year old divorced woman with a graduate degree who is seen as not an asset to a company but a liability because she may leave for a better job (as though younger people don’t do this all the time), she is too old to train (I have taught myself how to design a website) or she may retire (laughs on that one as she will never be able to afford to retire).

We want jobs.  We do not want charity.  We want to have a name and a face again in society instead of being in the shadows.  We want the truth about what is happening with job creations and if we are still giving credit to corporations who send jobs overseas.  We want justice and to be treated fairly.  After all when we work, we pay taxes, but more importantly we keep America strong and viable.

Thank you.  Respectfully M. M.

From D.S. in CA:

Dear Chairman McDermott,

I am a 56 year old female, a 99 week benefit exhaustee that has had the rug pulled out from under my life and my future. Hope of ever recouping the items lost at my age is looking more hopeless as the months pass.

Through no fault of my own I was laid off in Sept 2007 from my position as an office manager for real estate publishing company. The economy started to take a turn for the worse as I watched over 31 employees loose their job that year even before I was let go. We tried everything to stay afloat but I knew I was soon to be next to be let go… and I was.

Since then, I have sent out hundreds and hundreds of resumes and in 2.5 years have had only 2 job interviews that I was very qualified for but was not hired. Companies are not hiring in or around my town and definitely not hiring in my age group, but that is a different issue… for another day, that I hope will be addressed in my lifetime. The likelihood of ever recouping the items lost at my age is looking more and more hopeless as the months pass.

We already lost our home in 2008 and now barely hanging onto the car, and by the grace of god my one son who 36 years old has moved in to help with expenses, he’s not thrilled with it and places strain on him and our relationship. Being unemployed is bad, running out of benefits is frightening and indescribable. You know what? It was NOT suppose to be this way when you get to your senior years! I feel I was robbed of being able to continue to work and to look forward to my retirement, and now I will have nothing to look forward to. I loved to work and have done so since I was 16 years old! Living in worry, stress and frustration is exhausting and is taking a toll on me and my entire family.

Since being unemployed I have not been able to afford medical check-ups, medical attention when needed, have not seen my optometrist for a new pair of glasses, have not been to dentist, cannot afford 2 meals a day, let alone 3. I have used up my savings on necessary items such as rent, food, utilities, etc. I cannot afford to buy my Grandchildren a birthday present or an ice cream cone. Life is miserable and when I turned to agencies in the County, there is no help since I do not have a child to link me into the system for help.

Please help us! Please don’t sweep away the millions of people that have exhausted their benefits and please don’t think we are lazy or enjoy being in this situation that we were thrown into.

Thank you for taking the time to read this and hope you recognize that the long term unemployed have been suffering for years and now with NO benefits we are destitute, surely someone in Congress will

find the answer for us soon?

Something must be done to pull all of the unemployed people that have exhausted their benefits from the bottomless pit we have been thrown into, we did nothing wrong. Please do not forget us.


From C.W. in OR:

My story

Re: Hearing on Responding to Long-Term Unemployment

I am a 61 year old female who was laid off in November, 2008 from an executive assistant position I performed successfully and loved for nearly nine years in a small insurance company.

I have been searching for work ever since. Initially, I wasn’t too worried because throughout my entire working life, I’d never encountered difficulty finding a job. However, given the severity of this recession and my age, I quickly encountered difficulties.  The situation is so bad here in Oregon that there are sometimes over 100 applicants for a given job, which leaves many otherwise, qualified applicants out in the cold without any consideration. In this climate, getting an interview is as difficult as landing a job.

Within a few short weeks of losing my job, I realized I would likely not be able to find a good-paying job before it was time for me to retire, so I began searching to jobs outside of the admin support positions I’d held all my life. Thus far, I’ve applied for retail clerk, customer service, and many other positions with no luck! I was told just last week that I was over-qualified for an office clerk’s position, despite the fact that I would have been grateful and honored to do it!

I have diligently searched for work every day since being laid off, and moved closer to metropolitan areas to increase my opportunities. I’ve networked, submitted apps online and in person, and applied for many jobs outside my area of expertise. I’ve had a few interviews, but no success.  More often than not, I don’t hear anything and don’t even get an interview. In a few months my EB benefits will run out, and if I don’t find work by then I may be homeless. My savings is nearly gone, and like everyone else, my 401K has been sacked, and there will be a six-month gap before I can apply for early retirement at 62. Never in my life have I wanted to be older, until now.

It’s embarrassing to be on unemployment for such a long time, but I am very grateful for it. I honestly thought we’d have a stronger economic turnaround by now with job creation and growth. But it’s just not going to happen before my and others’ benefits run out. I would ask that you (1) consider extending UI benefits for older, displaced workers who, in truth, no one wants to hire, and (2) consider allowing those of us who are close to age 62 to file for SS a little early. I’d love to find a way to go back to college for retraining, but if I can’t find part-time work to support myself, I’m not sure how to accomplish this.

Please help all unemployed workers by extending UI benefits, as well as the plight of older Americans who are facing an uphill battle finding work in this Great Recession.

Thank you for all you have done to help us and for all you will do for us in the future.

The following letter was written by Cindy Paoletti and here’s her latest update:

The letter/testimony to the Ways and Means Committee has been sent. It had 130 names on it and represented 28 of the 50 states. You can watch the hearing live on the ways and means website this Thursday. It begins at I believe 9:30am eastern time. Now, we all should say a prayer that this hearing will help the hundreds of thousands of people who no longer receive UI benefits. To those that sent me their stories, please dont give up. Although it seems like your lives are over, they are just beginning, for the second time. I responded to some of you, and will not forget what you are going through. I’d appreciate it if you would keep in touch with me and let me know how things are progressing for you. Just remember, you are not alone in this nightmare. We will come out on top! Thanks to everyone that got involved and God Bless.

Here is Cindy’s original letter:

Mr.  Jim McDermott: We are a group of long term unemployed who have exhausted all 99 weeks of unemployment benefits.  We have been without any income since March, (some January and February) and are still unable to find employment.  We spend every day sending out resumes and applying for jobs, 90% of the time we don’t even receive an acknowledgement that our resumes and applications were received. We call ourselves the 99’ers.  There are over one million of us, and that number continues to grow each week as more people join our plight. The last two extensions of dates, have not included us.  (HR 4213 being the second extension of dates).  We have no health insurance, no jobs, and no income.  Many of us have gone through all of our savings and have had to pay penalties and withdraw our retirement IRA’s in order to try and survive.  There are people who are selling their blood to blood banks so they can feed their families. This has made our American dream become an American nightmare.

Age discrimination has played a significant role in us not being able to land a job.  Most of us are in our late 40’s, 50’s and 60’s.  That, coupled with being over qualified for any low paying job we apply for is killing the baby boomer middle class. Lately, there have been temp agencies that have told us their clients do not want to hire anyone that has been unemployed for a long period of time.  What are we supposed to do?  We have been pleading with Congress, the Senate and President Obama to help us by adding a Tier 5 or adding more weeks of benefits to Tier 4 so we do not end up homeless and starving.  The Department of Labor advised us to go on Welfare.  Many of us do not qualify for Welfare or Food Stamps.  We have no parents we can move in with, and no one who can help us.  All of our efforts have fallen on deaf ears.  In her legislative briefing last week, Nancy Pelosi actually laughed at the long term unemployed along with her audience of reporters over the faxes, phone calls and emails we have sent begging for help.  We are humiliated by American citizens who are employed, calling us lazy and living on handouts. To have the Speaker of the House laugh at us was not only an insult, but a hard slap in the face.  We believe she owes us a public apology.

The suicide rate has increased almost 75% from 2008. Many of these cases are unemployed Americans who can no longer cope with losing everything they worked their entire lives for, and being unable to support their families.  Our government does not care about us. We have been left empty handed with no safety net for over two months now.  We have nothing left except the necessities we need to continue to search for jobs.  Once our internet connections are gone, our phones are disconnected, and we are out on the streets, we will never see a normal life again.  Many are already in this situation, and it is inhuman that our government could let American citizens fall to this level.  We were all hard working Americans who have worked for over 40 years.  We lost our jobs through no fault of our own.  You’ve bailed out banks and Wall Street, you’ve sent money to Haiti, you’ve spent billions on two wars and no one worried about the budget and the money that was being spent.  Now, to help people that put you all in office, you argue over where the money will come from and force us into poverty.  We want to be recognized as the hard working Americans we once were. You have taken away our dignity, our love for our country and the faith we once had for the lawmakers we voted into office.

The long term unemployed who have exhausted all benefits need a bailout, and we need it immediately. We are no longer in a position where we can wait. We are scared, and at the end of our ropes. Please, do something to help us.  Waiting around for job creation to take place is not an option for us anymore. We have run out of time.  We’ve paid dearly into this country for years;  we should not be treated like we no longer exist.  Please show us some compassion.

Thanks for your time and efforts, Cindy.

The following letter was sent to the Hearing on Responding to Long-Term Unemployment. by T.M. in Texas. I have removed personal identification information for privacy concerns.

Today, June 6th, 2010, I’ve been unemployed for 16 months & 10 days.  I was laid off my job as an office administrative assistant at a great company on January 26th, 2009.  After struggling, sleeping in my car, not eating, etc. for over 6 weeks while waiting to finally be approved for unemployment I was able to finally get an apartment and buy groceries.  I have sent out thousands of resumes and filled out just as many applications in the 16 months that I’ve been unemployed, only to receive 2 interviews.  The last interview I went to in February, I was told that they had over 600 applicants for the position.  I am told that if the state that I live in has a 3-month unemployment rate less than 8.5%, we will not qualify for a 4th tier of benefits.  I live in Texas, where the unemployment rate is at 8.3%.  I have 7 weeks remaining of extended benefits before I completely exhaust all the unemployment I’m eligible for.  I’m not sure where to apply for a job at next.  I’ve applied everywhere from fast food restaurants & gas stations to medical clinics & government positions.  If I’m not hired in the next 7 weeks and my unemployment benefits end, I will once again be homeless.

I grew up in foster care, I do not have family to support or help me in anyway. It has taken me all the strength I have to get to where I am today.   I’ve applied for a care credit card, which will pay for doctors office visits, etc. and I was denied.  I cannot get credit.  I have Type 1(Insulin dependent) diabetes and barely make it monthly paying out of pocket for my prescriptions with what unemployment money I do receive, I won’t make it if I’m not receiving income.  The only reason I write this to you is because I am indeed desperate.  I’m desperate enough that I’m willing to accept work anywhere that will have me; the problem is no one is hiring me.  I don’t know where to turn.  Please don’t end my unemployment benefits.  Please send me a job; I’m desperately searching & I do have fine skills, only not as fine as the other hundreds applying for the same positions.  I beg of you to please not discontinue unemployment benefits for me, as doing so would cut off my one and only life line.  I am only 27; I don’t want to die this young.  Please help me.

Best Regards,

T.M. from TX

The next letter is from S.M in Ohio:

Today is Sunday June 6, 2010:    My name is S.M. and I live in Chicago and IL has a unemployment rate of 11.3%.   I will be 59 years old in a few weeks and have been jobless for almost 2 years;   I have had a STRONG and STABLE work history of over 34 years with only 4 Employers including my last job which was a Temp position for almost 3 months.  I have exhausted the last Tier IV of unemployment benefits in March and I am trying to make arrangements through a State “Rent Assistance” program to have my rent for May paid, thereafter I am moving from my 1 bedroom apartment because I can’t afford to keep it any longer and have no source of income but a Pension from my first Employer that is only $205 a month.  I am desperate and very upset that my Government can treat the unemployed with such distain as if it’s our fault we are in this mess; I have applied hundreds and hundreds of times within my Industry and outside of my Industry but to no avail.   I have played by the rules of law and paid my taxes for 34 years BUT when I need help with further extending jobless benefits for those of us unemployed for almost 2 years I get nothing but political games.    I have nothing, what I had it gone and I am virtually homeless trying to find a one room apartment somewhere because my limited family has no room.   I need your help, so many of us are suffering because our Tier IV exhausted in March and many of these States programs have freezes and aren’t any help.  Please help me and help the MILLIONS of others like myself through no fault of our own, have and still are in one hell of a mess!

From A.L. in NY:

June 04, 2010

Dear Committee Members:

My name is A. L.. I am married and have a 3 year old. I live in NY.

The reason for my letter today is I am not quite sure the impact that not receiving anymore unemployment benefits (I am a 99er as we are now called) is fully understood.

Let me share with you the position that I am now in since my benefits have ended. I am 2 months behind on my mortgage payments, electricity payments, cable payments and car payments. I receive daily calls along with letters of threats to foreclose on my home, reposes my car, and cut off my cable and electric. We pay 900.00 a month in medical insurance as my husbands employer does not contribute plus 135.00 for my daughter. I will be canceling our health insurance and pray that we do not get sick. I have high blood pressure and have to take 4 medications daily to keep it under control; this alone is 200.00 a month.

There are no savings whatsoever as that had to be used during the “gaps” of unemployment. I have been unemployed for over 2 years now. I have sent over 600 resumes. I was working at WAMU as an administrative assistant for the mortgage bond traders and was told of my layoff the day I returned back to work from maternity leave.

I have sold whatever jewelry I had. I have no one to borrow from.  My mom who is receiving SS widow benefits helps me with baby food and milk and diapers at times. I do not have anyone to borrow from. Not only can I not find a job, my husband has been looking for a second job and no luck there either. He works in the restaurant industry and during a recession people do not eat out understandably. His hours have actually been cut.

I had to count change this morning, pennies to buy ½ a gallon of milk for my daughter. I have never felt so humiliated and so insignificant in my life. I have worked since I am 14 years old. I have paid my taxes. I have played by all the rules. So this misconception of the people getting unemployment benefits are lazy is so WRONG.  I know that who ever needs help when I was working received help from taxes I paid. I am fine with that. There is not an ounce of help available for me out there. So here I am waiting to lose it all. How is it that we help everyone else and not our own? This is a very serious matter affect the lives of so many Americans and many more to come as their benefits end. I beg of you do not let me lose my home. I need to feed my child, have electric, my medication and water.  I have actually had to mix water with milk for my child in order to let the milk last longer.

We need a Tier V. Please do not ignore us or forget us. The situation I am in is becoming dire. I do not sleep, I am having anxiety attacks, and to have to ask my mom, a widow for baby food, this should not be happening in this country. I have actually had to mix water with milk for my child in order to let the milk last longer.

We bailed out the car industry, the banks, other countries, tax breaks. The money is there, please help the people. We will end up homeless.

P.S. I had to sell my high school ring and some earrings to buy diapers and baby food a few days ago….Tier 5 is VERY necessary.


A L in NY

From B.R. in NY

To whom it may concern or not: Hearing on Responding to Long-Term Unemployment

My name is B.R. and I’m an American citizen and I’m drowning, please help!

I started my work career at the age of 8 in 1966 delivering the Pennysaver paper up and down 4 long streets in the neighborhood where I grew up.  In those days everyone pitched in to help the family. By 10 I was delivering the Herald Journal and by the age of 13 I was working a 20 hour week in the family business .  After graduating High School I enlisted into the ARMY and spent 4 years on active duty. When I was Honorably Discharged from the service I rejoined the family business where I worked until near the end of 2007.

All of my life I have paid into the system personally through social security taxes and income taxes and on top of that the family business paying unemployment insurance (money that the business most assuredly could have used for other matters)- maybe some rainy day money for someone who might be out of work for awhile.

Oh wait that’s right the government has a program for that, don’t they? Imagine someone taking care of their own needs, but the government doesn’t allow for that does it? Unless of course a business should set up their own separate program ( it would cut into operating expenses to do that , but still…).Wait they can’t do that because then you show more profit and the government will take that away from you too.

I don’t know , what could the answer be, how about we develop a system of government that protects the people, protects a guy who has worked most of his life trying to make a life for his family. I guess maybe we tried that too- it just didn’t work out to well. It seems easy enough for you to come up with monies for social services for people who haven’t put a nickel into the system or maybe some unregistered alien who needs some help. Better yet why not just vote yourselves another raise you certainly deserve it .

You people let trade with China become what it is, you people allowed the big corporations in this country call all the shots. I know how the big corporations keep the well oiled political machine going. After all, big corporations are the ones who employ the American people, right? Getting to know me won’t be a benefit for any politician in office TODAY, I have nothing to offer…

Why if things are so tough do you allow extravagances like: Military aircraft being used to shuttle politicians and their families back and forth, while I’m sitting at here wondering if I’m going to be able to keep my home. I know this point has probably been beaten to death but I’m sure that there are plenty of other such events going on as we speak.

Fact is, if this kind of nonsense wasn’t going on maybe there would be a few more dollars around to help honest hard working Americans get a few more months of unemployment benefits. Just enough time for you the elected officials, to do the job you were elected to do and make this nation the prosperous nation it once was.

If you don’t feel that you are responsible for the state of the economy, then please step down and get out of the way for someone who might take responsibility. Maybe I should run for political office it doesn’t seem that hard to do- all you have to do is make a bunch of promises you don’t intend to keep, make sure you take advantage of all the perks offered, work for maybe 6 months a year. I think I could handle it!

All I want is to go back to work, finish my time out, chill with my family and leave a little something behind.

Thanks for your time.”

B.R. in NY

I’ll post additional letters as I receive them.

Please visit Rochester Unemployment Examiner to review unemployment information, data and details that you don’t find in the main stream media. You can also add comments about your current situation and what you think needs ot be done to improve the job market and unemployment benefits system. I hope to see you there.

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35 Comments to “Tier 5 and extended unemployment benefits: letters to Congress from the long-term unemployed”

  1. j cooper says:

    I agree with the above letter to Cindy whole heartedly.

  2. This is a perfect letter and expresses my thoughts and feelings to the T.

  3. L. Harris says:

    I totally agree with you. Help is needed NOW!!!!

  4. chuckee cheese says:

    i don’t understand why only the old farts are complaining? 27 here and without a job since feb. ’08. they don’t want us young farts either. who the hell is hiring anyone? doesn’t seem young nor old.

  5. Carol H. says:

    Outstanding letter! Couldn’t have said it better myself. So I sent Cindy an e-mail requesting that my name be added to the letter.

  6. Barbara Butler says:

    I agree with this letter absolutely. I have been unimployed since August 2008. I have sent out dozens and dozens and dozens of resumes. No response from any. I have re-educated myself. They say now, I have no experience. It is futile. I am so discouraged. My age is a factor. Age discrimination is alive and well. The jobs that are being created are not where I am.
    What do we do. I need a tier five and maybe six and seven. This is not going away. We deserve help. We have worked hard all our lives. Everyone comes before the American Peoople. It is time to take care of problems at home.
    Barbara Butler Arlington, Texas

  7. Lynda Muir says:

    I couldn’t have said it any better.

  8. Sue Oelkers says:

    Excellent letter! Please add my name to it. I have been unemployed since Sept. 08. I’m an electrician and can’t even get a job at Menards, Wallgreen or Wallmart. This is so un-American for Pelosi and the rest of government to simply not care what becomes of us. Now they worry about how to pay for extensions when they still finance illegal wars and send money to war contractors while they allow their own to starve in the streets? We should be too big to fail as the banks were! Government has no jobs program to speak of and they are quickly becoming as ignorant as the other side!

  9. Priscilla M says:

    To whom It may concern

    Today is Monday June 7, 2010. My name is Priscilla M I have been unemployed since June 2008. I have endlessly looked for a job the truth is there are no jobs. I live in Florida the unemployment rate is 13%. We did not create this mess so why are we being punished. I am not a lazy person I get up every morning at 6:00 a.m. looking for employment. I have not received a check in 4 months I am really hurting I have sold most of my merchandise just to pay my bills so I can have a roof over my head if I dont receive something soon I will be homeless. I am like millions of other unemployed we are not asking for a handout but help. I am really struggling I only eat one time a day because I dont have money to eat I have lost so much weight I really dont know what is going to happen to me.
    I am so scared. I need unemployment until I become employed. The U.S. government should divert more funds to necessary expenses instead of spending it on unnecessary things. Long term
    unemployment should be addressed first not six months from now
    there are a lot of people suffering such as my self. The economy will be much worse at the end of the year when the rest of us loose our homes, cars, and have no food on the table
    This is not the time to stop funding the American people! We need help now!


    Priscilla M (Please send my letter to the Committee I was unable to send it Thank you)
    Tampa, Florida

  10. Mamma Bear says:

    All this writing is useless folks, the only people who read/respond to these stories are people like me who been out of work for 18 months. I don’t know why but I am addicted to them. I waste hours and hours on the net each day looking for websites on long term UE just so I know I am not the only one. I read all these stories and go, Wow just like me glad I aint the only loser not able to get a job! However it not acheiving anything.
    Action is needed. Marches and protests on ALL the State Capitals with big signs and angry loud chanting, USA < USA etc.
    and everyone wearing red, white and blue and waving the american flag.
    Their is supposedly a march in DC in a few weeks but it's too far for me to go either by myself or with a bunch of strangers. I've only read about it on 1 website so God knows if they even get 1000. Their is NELP which is the most professional advocacy group for the UE but there are also alot of gripe boards and wacko anti government boards, am sure the FBI reads from time to time just to make sure the UE arent all gonna go off the deep end and plan an uprising which would certainly grab newsmedia attn!. On one site on run by a sympathetic woman a poster had put a 1-800 suicide prevention hotline #. I found that very funny. I guess this person got touched reading all the hopeless sob stories.
    Do any of you think HR managers stay up night to read these sites and feel sorry for you and want to give you a break?
    I don't think so but
    Coincidentally I have an interview Wed!!!! yaay!! well for a low paying,no benefits receptionist job in a drs. office (I need group insurance, denied private due to psych conditions so it not the best solution)it was quite a shock as I havnt gotten a call for any interviews in 3 months. Luckily I was able to compose myself and talk normally, like i get called in for interviews every week. the woman could not believe my last job ended Dec. 2008. She seemed willing to see me even tho I have no prior med. office experience so tried not to get too agitated at her overt suspicion of my being out of work so long. It was actually from the newspaper a 2 line posting with little info, I applied for the H of it. You've probably heard that once people are about to or have just exhausted their UE benefits, they Miraculously get a job? it is meant as a negative connotation like you werent looking before but I believe it's our Guardian Angels at work. Just Believe there are other forces at play. Never give up looking, visit your town's social service dept. if you need help with food and shelter. "Know you are a child of the Universe no less than the trees and stars and you have a Right to be here"
    I'm a mommy to 4 little stuffed Bears, they are the ONLY reason I am here cause I know they could not live w/o me….
    Live will never be the same, but who said life was fair?

  11. Millie says:

    I thought I was depressed before but after reading all of these letters, I’m really depressed. I too have been unemployed for a very long time (January 2009). Like everyone else, I have sent out my resume to every job opening I can find. I have even sent my resume to businesses that aren’t looking for help right now but in the hopes they will be soon. My benefits will end this month if an extension is not passed and I don’t know what I’ll do then. I will lose my home, car and everything else. I don’t keep in touch with my working friends anymore because it is too humiliating. They want to meet for lunch or go to a movie and I can’t even afford to do that. I am the oldest of our group and apparently the younger ones are getting the jobs. I believe that I was let go from my job because I had recently been diagnosed with a rare form of basal cell cancer and had to have three surgeries and six weeks of radiation treatments. The month after I completed my treatments, I was told they were going to start cutting back at my office and I was the first to be let go. Now I have no insurance for follow up with this problem and couldn’t afford the Cobra. I haven’t seen a doctor in over a year and just hope and pray it doesn’t come back. I have to agree with all of the others who are going through tough times like me…..we need an extension of unemployment benefits until the jobs start coming back. We are not lazy and want a hand out. We want to work. It gives us back some self esteem.

  12. Kathy says:

    We the unemployed, the 99’ers, are not asking for a “hand-out” ..we are looking for a “hand-up”!!!
    Americans,being laughed at, taunted by the same people we put in office trusting they would do what is “best”.
    Until we begin to take care of home? This country appears it will continue to weaken and suffer.
    Media covers victims of catastrophic events all the time, maybe its time they cover us.
    See how we live, what it feels like on a daily basis, the threatening phone calls (if you still have a phone) , the foreclosures, the meals we feed our families. The people who don’t qualify for welfare (yet) !!! Try to feed your family on a package of hot dogs and a can of corn for two nights. We’re not griping, just thankful to have any food.
    My husband is diabetic, we can’t afford his meds, or mine.
    Could not afford our rent this month, and for today we await and hope but calling for assistance is not helping, all the charities are stretched beyond their means.
    I don’t want a hand out, I want a job, I want to bring home a paycheck. Pay my bills, buy a package of chicken and bag of rice.

  13. Tom K. says:

    I’ve been out since February ’08. I feel I have some type of contagious desease. People have empathy for you, they offer suggestions, they are damn glad they are not in your spot, and they prefer to move away (from you), quickly, lest you “rub off.”

    The only way of “payback” for us is to use one of the great gifts this country provides its citizens — the right to vote. To be frank, EVERY incumbent that can be voted out soon should be voted out — Senate to dog catcher. Good performance or bad. A statement has to be made: “We are mad as hell, and we’re not going to take it anymore.”

  14. Ann says:

    This country is in a mess, as we all know. The unemployed did not do this, but guess what guy’s we are paying for it. We are still paying taxes on unemployment, maybe they should think about loosing this tax money before the stop paying unemployment.
    I am 64 years old, worked all my life and laid off. Who is going to hire me. No one, but they do not think about the money I have spent in this country while sending jobs to China and every other country, they could think off. At my age I have allot to loose, but I worry about the children, not me.
    They need to get off there ass and start helping the people of this country.

  15. allen hornback says:

    The government would like us all to run out of money about the same time.Then open the FEMA camps to lure us in.Then sort us out and start depopulating right there on the spot.These camps are manned and waiting our arrival.Some of the Elites and alluminati met this week,they want to pass a law to guns away from public use by confiscation.You dont have to believe this,but do check out chemtrails,agenda depopulation,fema camps, it will make you think!!

  16. India says:

    I agree with the letters of desperation. I must tell you that I have been unemployed since early 2008. The company I was with gave me an excellent reference but they were forced to keep only a few family members.

    I thought that I would never see the day that I would have to break my pills in half so they would last me until I could get some more. I am a diabetic and have high blood pressure. I am sick to my stomach about all of this.

    I had to sell all of my furniture to keep from being homeless. I lost my car and home. Now If I could find a job pulling weeds out of someones garden…., I would do it! However at 52 that may even be hard to find.

    Good thing that I have faith in God because I have lost faith in the leaders here in South Carolina!

    I will continue to apply for jobs every day just like I have for the past 24 months, but it is hard to get a job when you are living out of a car and from house to house.



  17. Debra Davidson says:

    Today is June 8, 2010 my name is Debra Davidson. I have been unemployed since January 8, 2009. I’m legally blind, Developmentally Disabled and suffer from mantel illness. It has been Extremely hard for me to find a job. The truth is there are no jobs out there. I live in New Jersey were the Unemployment rate is 10.2% . It is extremely hard for someone with Developmentally Disabled, is legally blind and suffering from mantel illness to find a job. I’m constantly looking, sending out my resume and getting no responses. I have bills to pay, food to put on the table, a roof to keep over my head, medical bills to pay, and pay for my medications just like everyone ells including you Congress men and Representatives. You spend billions on wars and don’t think about the budget. Are you trying to put all of us that are unemployed into poverty? Please, Please we desperately need tier five Unemployment and money beyond that to survive this economic crises which we did not create.
    Debra Davidson

  18. JaySin420 says:

    I read that there are so many long term unemployed that if half of us called Congress on the same day, they would be forced to pass this tier 5.

    The problem is that most people don’t realize how much it can help by simply calling Congress.

  19. Gary says:

    Forward all these letters to Congress!!

  20. frank cartwright says:

    to congress:you have money for haiti,gaza,congressional raises,non working/tax paying welfare recipients,illegal aliens and countless other non important issues. GIVE TO THE PEOPLE WHO ELECTED YOU,WHO WORKED ALL THERE LIVES AND NEVER ASKED FOR ANYTHING!

  21. RonnieW says:

    I live in Ohio and was laid off December 08. My tier 4 benefits will expire in a few weeks. I lost my home and had to file bankruptcy. At 44 it has been quite humbling to move in with my baby sister. I have had 2 calls of interest in the last week. I hope I find not just a job but a job with benefits and a meaningful wage.

  22. Matt says:

    I sent my own letter in to the House Ways and Means Committee for the June 10th hearing on Long Term Unemployment. Lets not give up hope.

  23. Kay says:

    Texas 50 year old women: I have worked in the trucking industry for 22+ years and was laid off due to the gas prices. Please Help us I have been on unemployment and have received all the benefits. I have sent out resume went to workshops gone to meetings had my resume redone to remove some of the management skillsin hopes of getting anything and there just any anything out there. I am now trying to get thru to the Makeing home more affordable but with no income you dont qualify. We need jobs

  24. Jackie says:

    This is truly an insulting devastation to me and those who are like me. I used to think our government took care of its own, instead it would rather take care of people overseas and fight senseless wars and create distractions so we don’t think about our mounting money problems. I am a 56 year old female who has moved in with her 30 year son (who is barely making $13/hour) so I could have a roof over my head. I have been unemployed for almost a year and have applied to a gazillion jobs with only 2 interviews. Once they find out how old you are, you’re dead in the water. We have too much experience and are “over qualified.” In other cultures, our widsom would be revered. Here, we are washed up.

    This is the second time in 5 years that I have found myself without work…so my modest savings and 401K was used up long ago. I’ve lost my home to foreclosure and my credit has been non-existant for 5 years. My 7 year old car is luckily paid for but not driveable as I do not have the money for necessary repairs. It sits rusting outside. I have no insurance and have been rolling pennies to take to the store to buy milk and bread.

    I’ve even had a greedy, money-hungry creditor (HSBC) try to garnish my unemployment checks (which cannot be touched by law) for which I had to spend more unemployment money to retain an attorney in order to fight that battle and I only succeeded in getting them to release the hold. So I was out the attorney fees – no small change.

    I am not sure what is going to happen to all of us unemployed. We’ll all be rounded up and put into those camps everyone is talking about these days and left to die probably. Easiest means of population control.

    It’s always the ones who have the money who find it appalling to provide for others. D’ya think Ms. Pelosi would want to spend a day in my shoes?

  25. RS says:

    Why do they act like receiving unemployment is like welfare? It’s not free money that we sat around and did nothing to get. Um, hello? To get unemployment YOU HAD TO HAVE BEEN EMPLOYED. The economy is in shambles right now, jobs have never been as hard to come by. Do they think that by not extending benefits that we’ll all get off our collective ‘lazy’ duffs and go get jobs that don’t exist?

    Also, how will cutting off benefits help the economy? When the unemployed don’t even have their benefits to rely on, do you think they’re going to pay their utilities, buy groceries, pay their rent and car payments? Correct me if I’m wrong, but doesn’t spending money stimulate the economy? Even if it’s from an unemployment check? We also pay taxes on our unemployment as it’s considered an income. If they don’t extend the benefits, that’s a lot of money not being spent, not stimulating the economy and also a lot of taxes that are not being paid. That’s also a lot of forclosures, evictions, and empty units. How does that help the economy?

    A.L. in NY, I feel you. I have a two year old son and I’ve had to water down the milk to make it last longer. We’ve been eating expired food and going behind the HEB at night to get the day old bread that the bakery throws out every day. Does Pelosi think that we ENJOY doing these things, that we enjoy this sword constantly hanging over our heads? Do they think we enjoy going to bed hungry, and eating dumpster food? Of course I would rather have a job then live this way! We all would!

    Come November, I will walk down to the polls and vote against every single one of these crooks. Unfortunately, I do believe that if they’ve served at least one term that they get to draw a pension for the rest of their lives. That’s right, they get to receive OUR MONEY to live out their lives comfortably, yet they sneer at us for asking for a little more time to find work in a volitile economy. There is no justice in this world.

  26. Nancy Rey says:

    Help those of us from 50 on who are too old to be hired (so it seems) and too young for SS.

    Or maybe this is like the death panel. If they can’t make it in their 50’s, let ’em drown in debt, become homeless, mugged or killed on the street. One less problem for the Administration…the only way to get Obama and Company to help us is to move to Haiti or Chili or anywhere they can appear to actually care. They sure do not care about US Citizens. If they did, Tier 5 would be automatic and people like Ms. Pelosi would not have a say in how the have-nots are treated. Did you catch the smirk? What would she do if her health insurance was gone and so was her botox? Then she would be outraged! Talk about looking out for only yourself! Shame on all of you.

  27. CynicLgrrl says:

    I paid into unemployment insurance all my life, though I’d never utilized it before this recession. As a 99’er–surviving on $200 a week for the interminable duration of this nightmare, I now find myself still underemployed with no job in sight. I’ve been tapped out of emergency benefits as of May. I’ve been cast to the curbside without so much as a passing and indifferent nod from the ‘powers that be’. My cat currently eats and sleeps better and more often than I, because I can’t explain to him our situation– and I won’t let him suffer. I’ve sold the things that I thought would give me comfort in my twilight years. I run my car to death going from place, to place, to place in 100 degree weather with no a/c looking for work—often forgoing food in exchange for gas. We’ll have an oil spill on our beloved beach, possibly by weeks’ end. As a tourist town, our local economy is already suffering unspeakable loss of revenue and the oil isn’t even here yet. I have a sneaking suspicion that the oil is not going to brighten the job outlook. The complete and utter disregard for the well-being of millions at the hands of so ‘despicable few’ during this ‘time of crisis’ is absolutely unconscionable and reprehensible. The mainstream media are equally blind. How the plight of the unemployed and long-term unemployed continually escapes daily ‘headline’ status is simply beyond me. The insincere smiles, the celebrity gossip and horns at the World Cup –and every other topic under the sun, seems to take precidence over the fact that a million people and their families–and untold numbers to follow in the coming months– are being forgotten and ignored. The lies compounding daily as they report an ‘increase in jobs’ and ‘fewer people applying for unemployment benefits’–when we all know that those numbers are mearly offsetting the number of people who have fallen ‘off the list and into the void’. As I sit here and wonder how long I’ll have to keep my computer as my primary resource to all things job and life related, I can’t help but wonder how many voices have already been silenced as the suffering unemployed and underemployed continue to lose everything they worked for. I’m disheartened, downtrodden, displaced, disillioned, depressed and emotionally dismembered. If I had the means right now–I’d have ONE decent meal before I’d fly to Washington and fall on a sword on the steps of the White House. And somehow..I doubt even that would get their attention.

  28. SS says:

    I won’t go down the road of reiterating everything that has already been written. I am in the same situation, however, I would like to make one comment in regard to all that has been written. Obviously, with all the English, “proper” grammar and very well written pleas, we are not uneducated fools! There will come a time when these educated people will rise up because they are educated, and make a difference. Those of you in decision-making positions that have affected so many lives will see that the pleas will change into desperation and then anger. And people with an education and anger in their hearts, well watch for these people to stand up for something and not have anything else to lose. Thank you for those that tried to plea for help. You’ve put your hearts and souls out there for world to see. I have faith in us…in us, not those who have forgotten what “struggle” is about. I was inspired to see the struggle is not just my own…and that gives me hope that we can make a difference.

  29. Marlene says:

    I have paid into the unemployment compensation fund for my entire working life – more than 20 years and I have never needed unemployment until now.

    In June 2009 I was laid off from work. I used to earn six figures – now I only have unemployment and my savings which are dwindling fast. I have applied for hundreds of jobs ( full time and part time), sent out resumes, tried networking and everything else I can think of to find work. In the past year I’ve had two interviews, a few phone calls and no job offers. I am not asking for a handout but I do expect UC to be available to me in this time of need. It sickens me that my home, savings and everything I worked for are in peril and to top it off my government has turned its back on me.

    Congress has bailed out Wall Street, Corp CEO’s and big business at the taxpayer’s expense. There is money for Gaza, Haiti, two wars and illegal aliens – everyone except American citizens who voted for you.

  30. MIKE says:

    The Democrats AND THE Republicans should get together in America’s time of need and start doing something about this economy. All you politicians might be comfortable in your mansions, but millions of American people who voted FOR you are starving! Unfortunately the people who run this country make sure they take care of themselves and their family FROM OUR HARD EARNED TAX DOLLARS, but these people keep on forgetting who voted them in there. The people who run this country should get a very big cut in pay. In fact they should volunteer their time and not get paid at all. The time is now for us to be heard! Give us jobs or give us TIER 5 AND OR A CONTINUOS UNEMPLOYMENT UNTIL THE POLITICIANS FIX THIS ECONOMY WHICH THEY DESTROYED!!!! WE NEED JOBS NOW!!!

  31. Scott says:

    It has gotten to the point where Washington, Does not hear us or want to see us. I’m 40 years old trying to get in to school so that maybe by the time I finish I can get a job. That is if a job is even there.
    I’ve almost run out of benifits from the State of Texas and because of when i filed, I get no EUI.
    Would’nt it be something if all the unempolyed marched on Washington to let them see the real numbers first hand not some computer generated/politically munipulated number.

    I think if you have over a 100,000,000,000. in your bank account it is time to start witting some checks. If people would get back to the basics of life they would see that helping each other is more rewarding.

    It’s time for Washington,Millionaires,Billionaires to step up we have a nation falling apart.

    It only takes one person to start a trend, Is there someone out there willing to give to start it.

    If they started cutting Congress health care and other benifits and only paid them 15-20 dollars an hour, How many Congress men and women would there be

  32. Nina says:


    The news explain that some people might not qualify for Tier 5. There is older people might never get a job. It will take more than 4 years to get the ball rolling. The Speaker of the House brain is going to melt when in November another Tier is in the Senate. Do not wait until November, start working on the next Tier now. Unless the Speaker of the House has a miracle for November. Lets hope she get jobs for everyone before the next Tier comes in November.


  33. Nina says:


    I do not care about the Wars, Haiti or who Congress has bailed out. All I know is that some money has to show up to help the unemployed people. Even if you have to cut some salaries in the Sanate and Congress. Someone needs to handle these soon before it comes to the use of violence. President Obama does not have to come to the Senate to asked you for money to help the American people. It should be a structure plan in place to be taken in action for the unemployed. Do not come to television to asked the public where is the money is coming to cover for unemployment? Dig a hole and get it. Do you thing that 8 million of unemployed people who are loosing their houses, sleep in their cars and are eating in shelters are going to be concerned? If you had work a well structure action plan you should a solution. Do not ask the public, It makes you look ignorant and unqualified to perform your job at the Senate. Companies are refusing to hire the “BABY BOOMERS.” For the Speaker of the House I just want to said that your brain is going to melt in that position. Is not what you want or do not want, Is not what you agreed of disagree. Save your opinion for home. Is what 8 million people need. So start digging holes, go to the moon, check under the rainbow to get the money. The people is not going to accept excuses.


  34. Toni says:

    I thought that I was eligible for the emergency extention signed into law! I’ve been unemployed since Jnauary 2009! I worked in the automotive Industry and I live in Mississippi where apparently they extended me into a 4th tier because my EB’s did not stop when they said they would! I’m sure there are alot of other people in this state also that got the news that they would not be able to draw also!This is not fair! I have constantly been looking for a job to no avail! I was under the impression that everyone since June 2nd that had benefits stopped would be able to draw til Nov.2010 but I guess thats not the case!Even those that have not drawn for long are not receiving what the gov’t said! We still need help also!!Please Congress please pass a bill for the tier 5 people that need help also!!

  35. Sharon Titus says:

    It is a sad world that we live in today. No one in Congress seem to care about the unemployed workers that gave many years to a company that closed due to these hard times. I worked 33.92 years on my job before the doors closed. The year before we closed I went through Stage 3 cancer treatments, surgeries, chemo and radiation. This caused me to miss 4 months in one year. Because I missed that time off work my unemployment benefits were less than a person that work only 1 year. Also because I live in Texas I did not receive tier 4 benefits. I think that’s really messed up. Especially since I paid unemployment all those years. Then when I actually needed it I was cut short. In the 33.92 years on my job I didn’t have a total of 5 sick days. I only time I was off job was due to childbirth (before jobs paid benefits)twice. All the other days off work were paid days off. I feel that my Congress has failed me and even punished me for having worked so many years for one company and for having cancer. Now I am being told because I worked so many years jobs look at that and consider me too old to hire. I am only 56 years old. I can not get Social Security until I am 67. I need to work 11 more years. Has everyone forgot about people like me? I just don’t understand how I can be treated so badly after I worked so hard for so many years. The b s in Washington needs to walk in my shoes for a while to see how hard it is to pay for medicine, Cobra, utilities, insurance and food. I have to borrow from my 401K to survive. The sad thing about that is I have to pay 30% penalty because I am too young to make a withdrawal. Too old to get hired, had cancer got less benefits, too young to retire and too mad to get angry.
    I feel so alone.

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