Due to receiving more than 300 letters thus far from those who submitted letters to the House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Income Security and Family Support , I need to create multiple posts.
The House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Income Security and Family Support held a hearing 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 to have published here.* Below are some of those letters. I’ll be posting other letters as I receive permission.
While you can no longer submit letters to House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Income Security and Family Support hearing you can send your letters to me at email@example.com and I’ll publish them here or at Rochester Unemployment Examiner. Your stories are important and hopefully those clueless ones in Congress read them to see how their actions, or inaction, can harm Americans from all corners of the nation.
You can read letters that were submitted to the Committee at: Witness Statements
I want to thank all of you for including me in your letters to the Hearing. I will do my best to reply to each and everyone of you.
From KM in CO:
I have been unemployed since August of 2008. I started working for a mortgage company back in 2004. When the housing market took a crash, the owner of the mortgage company closed the company and bought a collection agency out in Fort Collins, CO where I was the sales manager. I traveled monthly to Colorado from Dallas making sales calls. Eventually he closed the Dallas office and that is when I was laid off along with the rest of my office here in Dallas.
I have been actively searching for work ever since. I have applied for many jobs with little to no feed back from any. I recently have started applying for part time work along with full time work. I sent my resume to a company called AEROTEC. They had a part time job opening at a mtg. company and thought I was very qualified for this position. The next day Molly from AEROTEC called AND emailed me saying that I was a great fit for this position. When I called her back and I told her that I have been out of work since Aug. of 2008 she told me that she would not be able to help me as all the companies that AEROTEC does business with will not hire anybody that has been unemployed for longer then 6 months. I stated to her that I thought that was strange since the job market is and has been so hard hit by the recession. She said that she was sorry but there is nothing they could do to help me.
I have even applied for work and grocery stores, gas stations and my children’s school full and part time to even try to make ends meet. My husband is now looking to find a part time evening job as well to keep from losing everything we have worked so hard to get.
Today I have applied for the loan modification program that my mtg. company offers. I hope that I “qualify” for this modification. I was also able to skip a car payment for this month. The sad thing is that when next month rolls around I am back to square one.
Is it that the unemployed issue is “out of site out of mind” for our government? Until you are in a position where you are struggling to feed your children, one can not fully understand how devastating this can be on ones life. We need to get this out in the opened so people can see that this is a true issue and not a case of people mooching off our government’s money! They were so compassionate when the big companies were in the red….where is the compassion for us??? While they, our government, and the CEO’s of the bailout companies sit back a collect a huge bonus….the hard working Americans are losing EVERYTHING!
I hope my story will help in the fight to make new hiring laws and to help the long term unemployed!
From BA in SC:
Hearing on Responding to Long-Term Unemployment
99 WEEKS~ My Downward Spiral Into Destitution and Hopelessness
Mr. McDermott and Committee Members:
The last real home I remember having was a wonderful little beach block condo on Brigantine, NJ, outside of Atlantic City, NJ, in the fall of ’07. It was sunny and wonderful and mine, with my little miniature schnauzer, Mandy, my only family that is left. And although Mandy has battled congestive heart failure throughout these last 5 years, when I would arrive home from work from my TWO jobs at the ShowBoat Hotel and Casino in Atlantic City, NJ, most evenings we would walk on the exquisite beach and collect seashells, laughing and running on the beach, as if we had not a care in the world. The nightmare that has ensued since I lost both of my jobs at the ShowBoat, I could never ever have imagined in my worst dreams.
My heart breaks at the thought of how I have lost count of all the addresses I have had since, just to keep a roof over my head. I had previously attended a University- Coastal Carolina U. in SC, and remembered how inexpensive the winter rentals were on the beach there to live in. This is where I landed for the most part of the last three years. Living in a quaint, but old and quite run-down motel, called The Vancouver in Myrtle Beach, SC. I had lost my condo, and my car has needed some major repairs the past couple of years, which I could not afford. It’s a ’97 Nissan I purchased new, and was also hit by a few people in accidents, but never was fixed- I had to use the insurance checks for living expenses and bills. Even my unemployment did not come quite close to all the money I had earned at work– I worked full time in my department at the ShowBoat, and also part time and over-time. I also held a secondary job in another department at the ShowBoat. I was hoping to buy a new car, and also return to school to finish my 2nd degree in Elementary Education- Communications~ but it will never happen now. I am possibly only 5 or so classes away from my B.A. Degree in both.
At least with my Tiers of Federal Unemployment Compensation, (my Tier IV ran out almost 4 months ago), I was able to sustain somewhat of what was my life. Although in the summer season I have had to move from The Vancouver, and find room-mate situations– most in not very pleasant circumstances, to live with complete strangers, often drug and alcohol abusers. I have moved over and over, dozens of times, just to make sure I was in a safe situation. It has been really one of the most terrible experiences of my life. I don’t even know where to get my mail anymore.
After making a multitude of trips up and back to NJ, to try to be eligible for a NJ State Grant to re-train to be employed again, that I never was given- although I had tested and was told I was eligible for, and looking for any and every job I might find in-between; my Nissan has accumulated so much wear and tear and mileage, I’m afraid it will go to pieces at any time now. My brakes went out twice two days ago, and the car over-heats every time I drive it. Since my benefits have been completely cut off 4 months ago, I have nothing left and am at a point of almost complete destitution, and definitely desperation, whereas the hopelessness has begun to set it in.
My car has had no horn for at least 2 years now. My front brakes need replaced, and I cannot even afford an oil change. All my tires are bald, and I am having problems with the transmission. The air conditioning is no longer working, and the heat indexes here in SC are up to 110 degrees today and on many days.
The past two or so years here in SC, I have had 3 jobs– first as a Front Desk person in an in-door children’s ‘playground’, that was supposed to add an after school drop-off program, and tutoring, which my was one of my concentrations in school– Elementary Education. After about a month, I was laid off, and then the business closed and went under. Last year at Christmas, I was hired as a Front-end Cashier at a big sporting goods store as seasonal help. I was told I was being kept after the holiday season, but when the schedule would come out, my name was on it every week with zero hours. Presently, the ONLY job I have been able to find is part-time. I am a time-share TELE-MARKETER. It is so hard to believe that with an A.A. Degree, and almost my B.A. Degree in Communications-English and Elementary Education AND 10 plus years of Customer Service experience, plus Marketing and Sales, this is the only employer that would hire me.
It is beyond depressing. It is an insult. I spent six years studying in school, trying to finish and working, but then had to stop to take care of my Mom for 2 years, before she died. And I have nothing to show for all the hard work I did. Now I have $40,000. in student loans in default. I’m not eligible to receive anymore financial aid because of this. I am deeply in debt and barely have a roof over my head. I can’t pay my car insurance- it has gone to almost cancellation several times, and I barely was able to save it. My cell phone is months past due, and will be shut off. What will I do without a phone?? This is the only number I have to put on my resume. The commute to the PART TIME tele-marketing job I have is one hour plus each way, from where I am living- quite south now of Myrtle Beach, SC. Do the math- I have 143,000. miles on my car. How many more times can I even make it to a job that is barely paying $100. and something PER WEEK given the poor condition my car is in??
Now you may think I am just another ordinary ‘constituent’ of any of you, but I am not. I grew up in an upper-middle class family. I went to private school and graduated with a 3.8. My Father was a Ph.D. Professor at Purdue University, and a famous scientist who wrote for The Scientific American, among other publications, and a published author of a college textbook; Biology; The Science of Life. His Biography is published in THE Library of Congress; my name being there as well. He was killed in a car accident when I was three, and my Mother had to raise me alone. My Mother was a Kindergarten Teacher and a Model. My ancestors were traced by her to Great Britain- Wales specifically.
Now just how do you think I feel?? My whole life, and all my hopes and dreams are gone. I am mid-aged .. EDUCATED .. OVER- EXPERIENCED, AND OVER-QUALIFIED. My dream was to become an Elementary Education Teacher. I studied hard and did all the right things. I have been working in this country since I was 13 years old. I am a woman, alone, and no one will hire me, and I can no longer support myself. I have a stigma attached to me now, because I have been unemployed so long. I am ashamed of how my parents~ though now gone, must think of me. My life everyday day is a NIGHTMARE of emailing resumes and cover letters to unknown places and people, who do not even respond with an acknowledgement, and going on useless interviews, only to follow-up the next day and told I was not hired (they chose inexperienced 20 year olds over me- I have noticed this first hand). I feel useless and old, and as though there is no future. It’s hard to wake up every day to this. Very hard.
Please~ I beg you to help us. We do not want to live this way… wearing people’s old clothes .. begging the vet for another bottle of expensive heart medication for my little schnauzer, that I can no longer afford .. I have begged and borrowed from everyone I know and am out of friends– many have simply turned their backs on me, I guess out of ignorance and not knowing what else they can do for me.
All I want is what I had. I want my dreams back. I want to finish school, and I still want to work with children- the second love of my life aside from Mandy~ my 12 year old sick little schnauzer, who is solely responsible for me not giving up. Without her, I don’t think I would still be here. She is the light of my life and such an inspiration, (with congestive heart failure), and is filled with so much joy and happiness every day of her life. But I’m afraid all the stress will take it’s toll on her too.
Last year because I could not find work after putting in hundreds of applications and resumes, I apparently started to grind my teeth in my sleep- talk about stress! By the time I realized the problem- it was too late. I now need thousands of dollars of dental work .. but of course no longer have any insurance or money for it. I am down to 100 pounds as I have lost weight, most days having very little appetite. I look like hell. People say I was quite beautiful before all of this started, but with no money for clothes or make-up or just the minor things like a hair-cut!! I know I really look terrible and thin. I am aging long before my time.
We can not, and will not stand idly by, and watch what is left of our hopes .. our dreams, and our futures be desecrated by your inability to perform the jobs you were elected by us to do . You no longer represent us. After all, WE ARE THE POWER OF THE PEOPLE, and the people who put you where you are.
So PLEASE Mr. McDermott and Your Committee Members– Please understand how dire and serious our plight as ’99’ers’ is. I have recently read, which is even more disparaging, that we will now be the very last to find work or be wanted by employers. This recent news is devastating. In fact, CNN- cnnmoney.com released an article just last week titled, ‘Looking for Work? – Unemployed? Need Not to Apply‘! Is this all some kind of really bad joke? Because I fail to find the humour in it.
But until the time comes; and I do believe it is not just around the corner, that we can all be employed full time again, and in things that we struggled years in school to achieve~ PLEASE, please, Congressman McDermott, and Committee Members– let us keep what is left of our dignity, and at least do more than just try to survive.
We DESPERATELY need a Tier V until this economic nightmare is over, and we can all get back on our feet again. This unemployment situation is not our fault~ and we deserve more than to have you turn our backs on us in our darkest hour. After all~ WE ARE the constituents who put you where YOU ARE .. and gave you all that YOU HAVE~ And now we have NOTHING.
From JG in IN:
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I am urging you to take the actions necessary to extend Federal Unemployment Benefits. While I understand the argument that extending benefits reduces the overall search for employment, there is a large segment of us who do not fall into this category and require closer examination…this is the group of unemployed over the age of 50.
At age 57, my situation is similar to many others across the country. My husband has a PhD and I, a BSME as well as an MBA and NEVER did we think that we would be reduced to near penury at this stage in our lives.
After a 30 year career as a productive (and continually employed) engineer in the automotive and construction businesses, I was laid off in November 2008. At that time, my company laid off 25% of its workforce, ALL of whom were over the age of 50. Along with many others, my company found that they could substantially reduce their group health insurance costs by lowering the average age of its workforce…50+ year old employees are no longer welcome.
I did not lose my job because of lack of productivity or attendance-mine was double that of my younger counterparts. My attendance was better, my skills and knowledge of myriad software programs, educational background and willingness to work flexible hours was better. Like my laid off co-workers, I was let go solely due to my age.
Since November 2008, I have applied for hundreds of jobs and have been interviewed several times. Those interviews went well except for the fact that face to face, my age became obvious. The grim reality is that in every sector but academics, 50+ year old employees need not apply.
From a career high salary of $150,000.00 per year, I am reduced to applying for temporary jobs at $10.00 and $11.00 per hour hoping to get my foot in the door where I can demonstrate my capabilities in hopes of obtaining a full time position. I am hoping that my obsessive attention to diet and exercise resulting in perfect health becomes sufficiently obvious to some employer to induce him/her to give me a chance to demonstrate what I did very successfully for 30 years.
Ironically, I do not even need health insurance benefits-those are carried by my husband.
My husband is a teacher (albeit at the collegiate level) whose income is not enough to enable us to live comfortably on one income. In the past 2 years, we have lost our home to foreclosure (the bank felt that they would rather foreclose than to drop our interest rate). We have given up our second car, gone through most of our savings and are now in debt to the IRS and State of Indiana because we cannot afford the additional income taxes on my unemployment benefits. My husband’s medical insurance family deductible is $5,000 which has become unaffordable and we are now limiting our medical care for the few routine visits we have. I have forgone my mammogram and bone density tests this year as my husband postponed his routine EKG … our deductibles for those tests are now unaffordable.
I do not WANT unemployment benefits…I want just ONE company to give me a job doing anything. It is alarming that with my exceptional background and references, the 21st century America, the only option to me is to be “on the dole” and even that cannot be counted on. I find it contemptible that YOUR government has bailed out banks, insurance companies and the automotive industry NONE of which have yielded any more jobs…simply higher deductibles to me and larger executive bonuses for a privileged few.
The situation is a disgrace-and every one of you who went on vacation without forcing the Senate to vote on additional benefits should be ashamed. ..Switch places with me for just for one week and you will not be so eager to rush off on vacation when there is serious and much needed work to be done.
I assure you-unemployment is not an experience I would wish on ANYONE and right now, the benefits are the only thing keeping us in an even marginal existence.
From RS in GA:
TO: Representative Jim McDermott
Chairman, Subcommittee on Income Security and Family Support of the
Committee on Ways and Means
I am one of the thousands of Americans that has exhausted the maximum 99 weeks of unemployment benefits. These numbers are growing at an alarming rate every week. I am 58 years old and unemployed since November, 2007. My savings have been depleted (so much for retirement), and foreclosure of my home is looming ahead. Unemployment benefits enabled me to barely keep my head above water, so I am very thankful for the extensions of Tier 1-4. However, the job situation in our country is not improving fast enough to help the millions of unemployed Americans who want to work. A Tier 5 or extension to an existing tier would be a life line for thousands of hurting American families.
This is not the American dream I envisioned when I joined the work force 35 years ago. I am from the generation that identified ourselves by our careers. Now, no one wants to hire us or even give us the courtesy of a reply to our job applications today.
There are so many applications for every available position. I have been told by hiring representatives that they receive 100 plus resumes for one position. And, these are often for entry level positions. I am totally helpless and scared about what the future holds for myself and our country. I am not alone. However, in this situation, there is no comfort in numbers.
Yes, I agree that in an ideal America, 99 weeks of benefits should be enough. However, we are no longer living in a country where jobs are available to all who want one. Washington seems to have turned it’s back on us just when we need them most. Contrary to what some members of Congress and the public may think, the vast majority of us would prefer a job to begging for help. I know I certainly do. My resources are exhausted, not to mention my pride and self-esteem.
We are all American citizens with still a lot to contribute to our society when jobs become available again. Our current situations will definitely have a negative effect on the recovery of the economy. I am unable to comprehend how this has been allowed to happen to so many American citizens and to our country. Please heed our call for help by voting for a Tier 5 extension immediately. We are desperate for your help to survive this terribly frightening situation. We are counting on you and know you will do the right thing for us and for our country.
Thank you for your attention.
From JB in FL:
TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN:
I AM WRITING THIS LETTER IN REQUEST FOR ADDITIONAL LONG TERM UNEMPLOYMENT. I HAVE BEEN UNEMPLOYED NOW FOR OVER TWO YEARS. I HAVE APPLIED FOR EVERY POSITION AVAILABLE WITH MY SKILL SETS, BUT TO NO AVAIL. THE UNEMPLOYMENT RATE IN MY COUNTY IS THE HIGHEST IN OUR STATE AT 14.2%, AND THERE DOESN’T SEEM TO BE ANY RELIEF IN SIGHT.
I HAVE READ WHERE THOSE OF US WHO HAVE BEEN UNEMPLOYED FOR THE LONG TERM ARE LESS LIKELY TO BE EMPLOYED DUE TO OUR INABILITY TO KEEP UP WITH THE TECHNOLOGICAL CHANGES OR CHANGES IN FEDERAL RULES. I HAVE ALSO READ WHERE EMPLOYERS ARE TELLING RECRUITERS NOT TO HIRE THE LONG TERM UNEMPLOYED. THIS SOUNDS LIKE A DEATH SENTENCE FOR THOSE OF US WHO ARE AMONGST THE LONG TERM UNEMPLOYED. I DON’T THINK WE SHOULD HAVE TO FALSIFY OUR RESUME TO SHOW THAT WE ARE WORTHY OF EMPLOYMENT.
THE GOVERNMENT LIKES TO PAINT A POSITIVE PICTURE THAT THE ECONOMY IS TURNING AROUND, BUT IF THEY TAKE THOSE OF US WHO NO LONGER SHOW UP ON THE UNEMPLOYMENT ROLES INTO CONSIDERATION, THE PICTURE WOULD LOOK MUCH DIFFERENT. WE DON’T WANT A HANDOUT. WE WANT A HAND UP. (IE:JOBS)
PLEASE BRING OUR COUNTRY BACK TO THE STRONG AND CARING NATION THAT IT ONCE WAS.
From SB in PA:
I am writing in regards to the unemployment situation in not only in my area but also in my own home. My fiance and I were both on unemployment and have been for almost a year plus but my fiance just found out that he is out ….. and it doesn’t look like either of us will be finding jobs anytime soon. So at this point, for a family of 3, we make a little over $800 a month with about $1200 in bills. At times I have to wounder if I’m going to have enough to pay for the lights never mind all the other necessities. We are going to lose our car and house soon enough.
I wounder if you have ever had to tell your son or daughter “I’m sorry but mommy and daddy can not afford to throw you a birthday party this year because we don’t have the money”. We turned to the Welfare Office for help because I was under the impression that’s were people turn to when they need help the most and we were told “I’m sorry you make to much to get any other help then food stamps”. How am I supposed to keep a roof over my families head with food stamps??? I was told by my caseworker that Reading Pa ( which is the area I live ) has an unemployment rating of a little over 12% that’s over most states.
I happen to live in an apartment building that holds 4 families and what is really sad, only two people in the entire building work…. that’s right I said two and that’s out of 8 adults over the age of 18. We go on job interview after job interview and hear the same thing at each one, there are usually more the 5 other people applying for 1 job. I am so frustrated, disgusted, and fed up with living like this anymore. I WANT A JOB and can not find one. I WANT TO PAY MY BILLS and can’t. I want to be able to sleep at night knowing my family will have a place to sleep tomorrow. I am begging you to listen to the real people and help us out like we are helping so many other countries. Charity starts at home.
You have said “Our first step to respond to long-term unemployment is obvious — continue the emergency federal unemployment programs to prevent millions of workers from losing their benefits. If we can afford wars, tax cuts, and bank bailouts, then we can certainly afford to maintain programs for workers who have lost their jobs through no fault of their own. But we also need to think about additional steps to help those trying to return to work. An increasing number of Americans who have worked hard and played by the rules are now finding themselves with no job, no savings and no support. We must not abandon these workers and their families.” You hit the nail right on the head and I/we the real people really hope you meant it.
From DA in CA:
I am responding to problem with unemployment. I have been unemployed since June 13, 2008.
I worked in the Car Dealerships for 20 years. I loved my job. When I took vacations with some of my family, it was not a vacation. When I got back to work I felt I was on vacation. I loved my job in the Car Dealerships so much that when I worked it built energy in me, so that when I got home after 8 hours of work at the Car Dealership I still had energy to work at home.
I first became unemployed in Oct. 2006 when Ojai Ford in Ojai, Ca. was shut down by Ford Motor Company because it was a small Ford Dealer. I then went to work for Mel Clayton Ford in Santa Barbara, Ca. in Nov.2006 and was I let go buy Mel Clayton Ford in April 2007 because again Ford Motor Company shut Mel Clayton Ford down because it was not selling enough new Vehicles. Then in July 2007 I went to work for Cars 101 in Oxnard Ca. I worked for them for a couple of weeks just to find out they were shutting down. Then in Oct. 2007 I went to work for Todey Chevrolet in Oxnard, Ca. I was let go there in June 2008 because Vehicle sales had slowed way down.
The Senators say we are lazy so they are removing our unemployment. We are not lazy as you can see from my jobs as Dealers closed their doors. The banks, Car companies, and other finance houses received bail out money from our tax money that we did not Ok. Wall Street and these companies are the reason we are out of jobs and we get called lazy.
I went back to school taking classes on line while looking for work June 2009 and finished the class in Medical Billing in April 2010, because I knew I had to get into a line of work that I would not be losing because of shut downs, and now I am told I need to know Spanish to get in the Medical Office’s. This is not right our language is English, and people coming here should learn English not us being told I am sorry but you do not speak Spanish so we can not use you.
We do not enjoy not having jobs. We want to work; unemployment is not going to prepare us for retirement. The ones of us in our 50’s may not be able to retire thanks to Wall Street and the banks.
From SS in PA:
I am one of the many of Americans who are part of the 99ers needing a Tier V. I would like to share my story of how I became unemployed. At the time of my unemployment I was a 25 Year old mother of 1. I worked for a great company, great pay, great employees. I loved my job. My son has the disability of Autism. To make a long story short, I requested a new work schedule to deal with my child care problems and was denied. I ended up losing my job for missing time at work, wether being late or having to leave early to care for my child. I applied for unemployment is August of 2008. At first I was denied unemployment compensation from the employer. After winning my case with the referee I was granted my benefits. I have been on 26 Job interviews since I was forced to leave my previous job. Thats right 26 job interviews. After every interview I was told we will follow up with you. After not getting any of the jobs the reasons explained to me are not enough experience, too much experience, over qualified, under qualified. All the same.
I am currently 27 years old. I have been unemployed for almost 2 years now. I have worked almost everyday of my life since I turned 16. I worked through high school, through college, through pregnancy. For over 10 years of my life I had a stable life, a stable paycheck. Since receiving unemployment, life has been on pins and needles. Not knowing if come the next time I will file, I will receive my benefit payment. It is the most horrible feeling in the world. Not knowing if I will be able to pay my bills, not knowing if I will be able to feed my child.
Some members of the political party are stating that unemployment has become the new welfare. If you speak with any person who has been unemployed throughout this entire time, you will find out we are WANTING and WILLING to work. As compared with the Welfare system, majority of the people on welfare believe, why work when the government will pay my bills, buy me groceries, give me free health care, and even a free cell phone.
I as an American receiving unemployment and soon I will run out of my benefits after I reach my final tier, am begging for help. I have worked and payed taxes, as well as your salary with my tax money, for over 10 years. Don’t let us Americans who are trying fall through the cracks because of some limitation of numbers.
From LG in CA:
To Whom It May Concern:
My name is LG and I reside at xx in xx, Ca. I am 58 years old and I have been out of work for over a year. This is not due to my not trying, I promise you.
I had a good job with a solid company, Sears, but I was laid off last year in February. My intention was to work for this company until I retired, but that was not to be. I have applied for over 200 positions since then, but have only been called for a few interviews and have had no offers, even though I was a top supervisor in my previous job and had a lot of experience.
I find myself competing for even entry level positions with a mass of people who are also overqualified, but willing to start at the bottom for a chance to advance. At 58, I am thinking more about my retirement than about climbing the corporate ladder again, but it does not matter, because I am not given a chance.
I have depended on the unemployment provided to me to live day to day, but if I lose that money, I am very fearful of being unable to find employment to meet even my basic needs. I am not alone in this problem!!
Please do not let down the people who have played by the rules and worked hard all their lives because you think the money would be better spent elsewhere. Where can it be better spent than in support of Americans who have lived their lives by our laws and now find themselves with financial problems NOT of their own making?
I do not know if this letter will do any good, but PLEASE be aware that what happened to me could and HAS happened to many Americans, and I do not believe putting us on the streets is a viable solution to the problem.
Please continue unemployment benefits until the economy improves, no matter how long it takes. This is only fair to those of us not responsible for the economic mess we are in.
From BF in MI:
I would like to share my personal story on behalf of over a million of long term unemployed Americans. We currently are referred to as the “99ers”.
I have been unemployed since this recession began and I do not like being referred to as lazy, looking for an excuse not to work. I have responded to thousands of ads in our local paper that I am qualified to do the work employers need done. There is rarely a response or interview. Some employers even insert in their ads that they prefer no follow-up phone calls, “we will call you if you match our requirements”.
I am from Michigan and as you all know, Michigan remains the state of highest unemployment. I have always paid my taxes so Congress and the states can enjoy the good life. In west Michigan, the healthcare field is predominant and they too have politics. The largest healthcare employer here only hires from their preferred school of choice. Having a stellar career record, holds no weight when it comes to the healthcare politics in west Michigan.
The President’s stimulus package was for “shovel ready jobs”, this is no help to women in Michigan. Yes, we appreciate the extension of Federal unemployment benefits. But, in Michigan this is not enough. If there are no jobs, Michigan will and has remained the highest in unemployment in the nation.
I ask the Ways and Means Committee to please understand how things really are. I am willing to be underemployed, employed part-time or what ever it takes. If employers are not hiring I feel they are afraid of all the taxes they are now required to pay. If you don’t have dependent children, you can’t even get State help.
So, please, see my situation as urgent and understand that I and thousands of others need help until we can get jobs. PLEASE SIGN A BILL TO HELP US TILL WE ARE EMPLOYED AGAIN.
From LS in CT:
Dear Committee on Ways and Means:
I am the first generation Lithuanian American from parents born in Lithuania. My parents were “DP’s” (displaced persons) during WWII. Because of this War based upon differences in Religious beliefs, my parents were forced to flee Lithuania and give-up their homeland as teenagers.
My parents became United States citizens through Elis Island legally.
I have a passion for science since I was little. My first exposure to Chemistry was in the fifth grade during a demonstration of Volcanoes. I excelled in the Sciences through middle school with self teaching utilizing a Chemistry Set. My first formal exposure to Chemistry was in High School. I achieved a D+ in that course. The teacher stated to my parents during open house “I would NEVER be a good Scientist”.
In my college years, I pursued the sciences and now hold three degrees:
B.Sc. Organic Chemistry
M.Sc. Organic Chemistry
After College, I became employed in industry with a Starting Salary of only $28K in the late 1980’s – early 1990’s. I was employed by the Pharmaceutical Industries where I passionately preformed my art of Synthetic Organic Chemistry of potentially new Drugs for various therapeutic areas. I held bench chemistry positions within Bristol-Myers Squibb, Purdue Pharma, Peptimmune, Pfizer, and recently at Vion Pharmaceuticals. My last position ended with a lay-off as “A Thanksgiving Holiday Gift in 2007” where my salary peaked to $77K for my entire career. Because the management at Vion is inept and EXTREMELY INTELLECTUALLY CHALLENGED, Vion is NOW IN BANKRUPTCY.
During my 23 year career, I now hold over 18 US and foreign Patents in the area of dyes and new drugs. I also have product on the market (5 US patents obtained & a Work related M.Sc. Degree) with Bristol-Myers Squibb. I do not gain any royalties from this product as all rights to the Intellectual Property are waived to the Corporation with the first day of employment.
There are many in the Sciences that are passionate about this work. One has to be passionate because we clearly DO NOT DO THIS TYPE OF CAREER for the MONEY! We pursue such careers because we are extremely passionate about Science and we have high goals for achievement. If there are any Saints Left in the USA, it is the people in the Science and Medicine fields because our goal is to ultimately help humanity.
Unfortunately, corporate management at any level does not require much education. I my experiences in Corporate Sciences Industry, management is only required to hold a minimum Bachelor of Arts degree and maybe an MBA for higher levels. The Scientist must possess greater intellect and higher education credentials to be in research. Management most often is intellectually challenged. This is obvious in their education and credentials. However, Intelligence is NOT REWARDED WITH MONEY unlike management which has no clue to the Sciences.
I have seen and been included in several lay-offs. In the recent past, the lay-offs at Pfizer are an abomination of the Intellectually Gifted. A true example of where our country is headed was with the passage of NAFTA. The sciences are sourced out overseas. EVIDENCE: A scientist with a B.S. or M.S. in China will earn $2K to $3K per year. A Sciences Ph.D. in China will earn you $7K to $8K per year. A current Sciences Ph.D. graduate in the USA will earn you $80K per year if you can land the position in this economy. From the intellectually challenged management, why pay for One Scientist here in the USA when we can have 10 slaves overseas doing the job. This is a fantastic business decision with the potential for Intellectual Property Theft overseas.
It appears you are better off being Intellectually Challenged to make the real money and high positions in the USA. Example: Former President Bush “don’t worry – anyone with a C- from Yale can become president”. Need more be said?
Current President Obama: “we need more students in math and sciences”. The problem is we already have the best Intellects in the USA but NO WORK!
Political “leaders” have a great life with all the fringe benefits. Until a fatal medical condition strikes one of these Political “leaders”, we then need a serious cure for that ailment. STOP WASTING TAXPAYERS HARD EARNED MONEY AND GET US BACK TO WORK! In the meantime, we unemployed need financial support for this a depression in the USA.
In 2009, I was hired at Pfizer as a contractor for a supposed three month contract with potential for transitioning into a full time permanent position. This was a bait and trap scheme. I have determined this not to be the case. There are “temporary employees” that have worked for Pfizer for up to 4 to 5 years. This is a “temporary position”? It is an abuse and nothing more than MODERNIZED SLAVERY.
Needless to say, my position was temporary. I had worked for Pfizer a total of 12 business days in 2009. As a result, a new “UI benefit year was established” and my weekly Unemployment Insurance Benefit had been reduced from $501 per week to a NOW $22 per week. The unemployed are supposed to work and take anything they are qualified for and ultimately be abused. THIS IS TRULY MODERNIZED SLAVERY IN THE USA!
The $22 per week UI benefit is insufficient to support me. Therefore, I now teach Organic Chemistry Laboratory for a local University to supplement the menial UI benefit. However, this position is also just part-time varying from 3 to 9 hours a week. Academia is far more than industry strapped for funding. Academic instruction really can be viewed as COMMUNITY SERVICE / VOLUNTEER WORK – the compensation is extremely low. My students ask about obtaining employment in this field after graduation. Unfortunately, I tell them as it is – good luck. What else can I tell my students? Move to China as was told to me from a colleague at Pfizer. We see what comes from China: Poisoned Milk with melamine (Formica process chemical – if ingested causes Kidney failure), tainted Heparin causing death, lead painted toys, poisoned sea food, etc.
Our entire family life has drastically changed in 2009. My older brother died of a heart attack in 2009. His daughter (my “ex-nice”) tried to steal my deceased brother’s estate without going through probate – OF WHICH I RECTIFIED for my Mom. Late 2009, my dad was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, and our family dog of 16.5 years passed away prior to Thanksgiving. The death of my older brother prompted the rest of us to obtain physicals.
I have no health insurance since my lay-off of 2007. For health reasons, I spent $1200 out-of-pocket for a standard physical. A potential indication may have arisen pertaining to my heart. My doctor insists upon a heart evaluation and stress tests — I cannot afford $7000 for the tests. Who knows perhaps I will be next in the family to unnecessarily perish.
The Obama “insurance for everyone” plan is a farce. We are going to be forced to pay for insurance when we have NO MONEY – WE ARE IN DIRE STRATES. This appears to be a favor for big Insurance Corporations.
I am a registered Independent Voter without any Political Party affiliation. Stop labeling and quarrelling between “Republican” vs. “Democrat” titles. You are all elected to work for the voters and legal citizens of the USA.
We are Americans with Rights. Here is a little History lesson for all of you:
IN CONGRESS, JULY 4, 1776
The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government
Unfortunately, the majority of lawmakers are Attorneys. Where are the morals and ethics? It appears to me lawmakers at every level are condemning the Declaration of Independence for which our forefathers shed much blood. Are there NO RULES OF PROFESSIONAL CONDUCT AND ETHICS TO UPHOLD FOR ATTORNIES? Yes, there are State Grievance Panels to discipline Attorneys that DO NOT UPHOLD THESE STANDARDS OF CONDUCT!!! It is ultimately cause for DISBARMENT!
Therefore, STOP the BICKERING and Pass H.R. 4213 immediately. The unemployed are in EXTREME FINANCIAL DISTRESS!!!
I would like to Thank-you in advance for your attention into this matter.
From DH in OH:
Dear Senator McDermott, Chairman of the Ways and Means Committee
In 2008 when I was laid-off, I had full expectations of being in a new position within 90 days. I had an excellent job record of 27+ years, good references, and above average test scores on most organizational screening exams for hiring. Networking included meetings, Linked-in, friends and family referrals, and even extended to previous employers.
At the point of my lay-off I was financially caring for my 83 year old mother, caring as well for my husband who returned to work after a stroke and was living with prostate cancer. We were paying on our home. And while the Department of Education had garnished 15% of my wages, we were doing our very best to keep afloat.
However, the job did not come in 90 days. Increased resume sending returned no interviews, nor any offers. I reverted back to the old method of knocking on doors. And then one very kind potential employer told me the facts no one else had even bothered to bring up: “You have all the right packaging however you do not have a degree. Without a degree today, it is quite possible that you will not be able to return to an executive position in any company.”
You see, I had returned to college to complete my degree and then my husband was diagnosed with Thyroid Cancer. I left school to resolve this family health emergency. The months that followed exceeded the limit for my Federal Aid deferment and I was urged to consolidate my loans. At that time our finances due to no insurance landed us, with deep humility, on the welfare rolls. In error I did the consolidation because I believed it would get me back in school. Over the years I tried here and there to make payments as I could. After all, I was only three to five courses away from my degree. Yet, my efforts fell short when, in 2007, my wages were garnished.
I filed a lawsuit against the Department of Education for the sole purpose of getting a court to look at my finances and set a repayment amount that I could afford – one that would allow me to return to school to complete my degree. Before I could complete this court case, I was laid-off. The emotional trauma of no longer being able to support my mother, who was at that point dealing with terminal cervical cancer; the economic shock of the combined garnishment and lay-off now showing its impact in our home being foreclosed on; and the painful physical impact of the stress upon my body as a 61 year old Fybromyalgia sufferer, did not sway me from diligently looking for work.
Unemployment benefits became our life-line. Not enough to go out to a movie, yet enough to buy medicine and groceries. We found a different place to live. We stood-up, dusted ourselves off, as Americans do, and we gave the hard knocks our best fight.
In August 2009 my beloved mother passed away from cervical cancer. In October 2009, my husband, the only one working, was diagnosed with Lymphoma cancer. As an armed guard working at the Federal building, a new union had cancelled insurance benefits 5 months earlier, even though the premiums continued to come out of his pay. So here we were: He could not go back to work; we had no insurance; and all that we had as income were my unemployment benefits. I asked our lender for a loan modification that still has not been approved – almost one year later.
Chemo started. I applied for SS Disability for him through the hospital. Pages after pages of Dr.’s reports and data, and more data were submitted. Then, the Dr.’s found bone marrow cancer. This meant my husband had three active cancers in his body. (Prostate, Lymphoma, and Bone marrow). Two slow growing; one in stage IV.
I remember the day we were told that my husband would not be returning to his job. His work days were for all intensive purposes, over. We desperately awaited the decision from the Social Security Administration. Early this year the answer came; DENIED.
We then had to hire an Attorney. The unemployment benefits were being stretched, yet they were still available due to an additional tier active through March 2010.
In the midst of all of this, I continued job searching, going to meetings, sending resumes and doing whatever a potential employer asked of me, all to no result.
Then in March 2010, after scoring high on a pre-employment exam, I was given a chance to compete for an executive position against five other persons. I made the cut of top three. The problem however, was that I did not have a degree. I was informed that if I enroll in a degree program to complete my BA, I can be hired as an Administrator in training at 50% wage; then when I complete my degree, I would be placed at the full 100% salary. This position allows me to transition my skills set from organizational management to healthcare administration with a focus on Adult Family Care. It appeared that my prayers were about to be answered.
I went to the local offices entrusted with dispersing WIA funding. I brought in my pre-registration papers from UIU, and a letter from the Ohio Department of Jobs and Family Services saying that I had been identified as one of a certain group that should be given priority help regarding Pell grants and other funding. WIA allotments total a maximum of $5000/person. I thought if I could get them to pay for the first semester, then I would be working and I could pay the amount that the DOE demands and then be eligible for Federal Aid to complete the final term.
On paper it looked so perfect. Then WIA rules dictated that they could only pay ½ of the $5000/semester; they also required a financial aid letter which could not be given because my student loans are in default meaning I am not eligible for financial aid and a letter from the potential employer. The school was asked to allow me to enroll and pay later. The school wanted a letter from the potential employer stating that they understood that if I could not pay the school back, the BA proof would be withheld. The potential employer asked for proof of financial ability. And this is the circle I am on as I write.
So there you have my story. All the programs out here are circular. One depends on the other, depends on the other, depends on the other etc. The potential employer has given me until August 15th to enroll in school. And if I can not solve the challenges to obtain WIA funding, I will have no way to get into school. No enrollment in school, =no job.
Due to a Federal extension of State benefits, my last unemployment check was last week. Without a new Tier V, my family, already in both economic and health crisis will go under. I literally have no idea what to do. I had even thought of writing President Obama to get help on allowing financial aid for the severely unemployed even with default history, with a new definition of hardship deferment. This letter to you is from the heart. I humbly pray that you are wise in your oratory in conveying that living destitute is bearable so long as the American spirit remains intact. Where do I find hope? Where are the doors of opportunity for me? Am I to become one of the wasted?
Let me tell you what I have learned: If you feed a man for a day, he lives for a day; – this is the welfare system; however, if you teach a man to fish, you feed him for a lifetime. Unemployment benefits are helping me to fish for a lifetime – This is protecting human capital. I end with the words today by Pope Benedict XVI:
The pontiff says “finance and the economy are nothing more than a means to help people realize their full potential and keep their dignity…. that human “capital” is what any financial rescue plan must save…those shaping economy need to make the needs of families central to their planning.”
I pray for mercy. For every day I did not live up to the expectations of my country, I worked; I contributed to society and to my community. Poverty does not define character.
I pray the blessings upon my leaders in congress that they may see within their own current rules and restrictions (WIA, DOE, Loan Modifications, and SS) that restructuring toward the greater good will help, not hinder the economy. And will bring stability once again to the working, yet unemployed masses. The power to help in this moment, in this time rests in the hands of congress. May God make it so.
From LM in IN:
I am asking that you please put in a Tier V for us long term unemployed.
I am a 61 year old woman who has been unemployed since November 2007. Since that time I have sent hundreds of resumes, gone to a few interviews and have pounded the pavement in search of a job.
When I was lucky enough to get a face to face interview I was told I was over qualified or as better said to old to waste our time with.
Since being unemployed I have had to file bankruptcy, lost my home, my vehicle, my savings, my retirement fund. But mostly Senator I have lost my pride.
At 61 I thought I would be getting ready to plan for a comfortable retirement, not fighting for survival.
With another Tier I’m hoping that I can at least get to Social Security age so that I can then have some income in case the powers that be decide that we” 99ers are undeserving of more help because we are only using unemployment benefits to keep from looking for work.” That we are really getting “Funemployment”
Tell that to my grandchildren whom I can no longer spend any money on because I can barely buy food.
Please Senator McDermott help us.
From SR in NV:
I live just outside Las Vegas, Nv., I had a good job for two and a half years with no expectation of termination for quite awhile based on the nature of my profession. I was let go during the economic downturn. Within 6 months of being let go the company I worked for went bankrupt and closed.
I am a 55 year old worker and the unemployment extensions that have been provided by the federal government has allowed me to stay floating. I haven’t had insurance since my last day at work. Jan. 16, 2009. My bills were greater than my ability to obtain Cobra.
I have looked for work since being laid off but the market is very bleak.
I am very concerned about my future at this age. Many college graduates are out of work and taking the jobs of those of us that were given the opportunity to work even though we didn’t have Bachelor degrees. When the market turns around those of us in my age bracket without a B.A. are going to have a much more difficult time gaining full-time employment.
In Nevada, we are told the Tier 4 and the State extended benefits have been discontinued. So my 3rd tier Federal extension is over in a couple of weeks and I will be in a very difficult financial position if I am unable to depend on the federal benefits.
Please help us, pass this bill, we would work if we could find a job.
From JH in MA:
To Whom it may concern;
My name is JH, A life long resident of xx Massachusetts. I have worked jobs since I was 12. My first job being a paper route!
I am a 38 year old single mother of 2 boys. ages 19 and 9 .. My last job began back in 2005. I got a job as a supervisor in a Bakery/Cafe in Acton Mass. It was called Country Harvest Bakery aka G&T Enterprises. I worked there for 2 years. I loved my job! Right before Christmas in 2007 the company closed. Business just wasn’t good enough to keep going I guess. The economy was struggling back then!
I was forced onto unemployment. It was bad enough having to wait almost 2 months to get approved for unemployment and then start receiving checks! My children suffered at Christmas time with very little gifts and food. I was able to get a little help from a local church in town!
Since I have been unemployed, I have searched for jobs high and low. I was even told I was too over qualified to work at McDonalds! Are you kidding me? What will they think of next? And Minimum Wage JOB WILL NOT keep a roof over our heads! I was barely making it back then.
Since all of this has happened. And i have to say.. There was a time when I had exhausted all benefits and I had NO help from anyone.. I lost custody of my children. My youngest son is now legally adopted and living with people who CAN afford to have children!
It’s pretty sad when our government can take away our families and create poverty! They all sit sit there (getting paid) I might add. to make decisions for OUR Financial Security!! If you can say yes to bailing out Banks and everyone else that needs it. Than why can’t you say YES to help your Fellow Americans. Who have worked their whole lives and paid Taxes and pay for people on WELFARE. WHY CANT YOU HELP US?????
Desperately Seeking a Tier 5!!!
From VL in IL:
My name is VL and I have been unemployed since August 2008. I was laid off and then the company I worked from based out of Columbus Georgia went out of business.
I have been looking for work ever since. I have gone on multiple interviews but when I walk into the door I know that I am not want they want.
First I am a woman who has a lot of experience in the field I am applying at and I am not a model who can type.
I’ve tried every venue to apply for jobs in every area just to get some work and I have been unable to find anyone who will hire me.
They say my resume is great and when I get there I know I am not what they want.
I have now exhausted all my benefits and the sad thing is my husband was laid off in 2006 and he is only working on an as needed basis.
We have a home but I do not know for how long. I do not have family to help in this situation and I am afraid that if our government does not step in I will be living on the street sooner than later.
Please, please pass some type of bill that will extend benefits and help us long term citizens continue to look for work and remain in their homes, apartments, etc.
Thank you for taking the time to listen.
From DC in MD:
I was laid off on Dec 31,2007. My job as service manager was eliminated and eventually, the company that I worked for , I.C., Inc) closed it’s business.
I am 63 years old now and I have not even been able to find employment since that time.
I worked diligently for 39 years (combined between Lucent technologies and I.C.) and I need 5 years of full time employment so that I can have retirement. All my retirement savings are depleted since my unemployment benefits exhausted in March 2010.
Please help folks like me, whose long time efforts have helped make this country great!
From DW in NY:
To Whom It May Concern:
I was fired from the NYPost February 13, 2008. While waiting for my unemployment benefits to kick in I began looking for work. I went on a few interviews, nothing came of them. My 26 weeks of original benefits ended around August or so. Before I had a chance to worry, the first extension came into being. This took me to about October, when I went on what was to be my last interview for quite some time. While waiting to find out whether I got that job the government came to the rescue with the second extension. This one lasted until mid-January, when I found out that the job I had interviewed for in October no longer existed due to job cuts.
Between mid-January and all of February I lived on a credit card hoping to buy time while continuing to look. The third extension was enacted. I decided to take some classes in an effort to enhance my skills and make me more employable. These classes I put on my credit card. I lost track as to when that one ended but, thankfully, there was a fourth extension. This one ended in the beginning of April. For the first time since October 2008 I went on an interview later that month. As I do not qualify for the 5th extension that was passed in May after collecting for 99 weeks I have been living on some money I came into, all the while waiting to hear from the latest job I interviewed for, which is on hold.
The money I am currently living on will run out in July/August. While I would prefer to work, a new extension would once again buy precious time so the job search can continue. I hope that you can help us “99ers” with a new extension so that we can continue to look for work without having to worry about where our next meal will come from and to keep a roof over our heads. Thank you for listening.
From KD in MI:
To Whom it May Concern:
I writing today to encourage you the law makes to help the long term unemployed, either by adding a Tier V level or adding more weeks to the current Tiers of emergency Unemployment extensions.
I personally happen to be one of the so called 99ers that will be running out of unemployment benefits soon unless something is done. I live in Michigan and as you are well aware that this state has the highest unemployment rate in the nation.
I am a college graduate with a four year degree and I have always work hard and have give it 100% in everything I do. Over the past two year that I’ve unemployment I have applied to hundreds of jobs. Jobs that are in my field of work and jobs that are minimum wage however I never hear a thing back, I also do follow up calls and e-mail still with no prevail. I am not a lazy person nor am I the type of person that uses they system I just happen to be one of the many people who our being affected by what is being call “The Great Recession”.
I hear news reports that the economy is turning around and that company’s are hiring again which is great for everyone. However, it’s not back to where it was when the recession started. This is indicated by the high unemployment numbers that are still being reported in the news.
In closing I want to thank you for taking the time to review and have hearing about this highly sensitive topic that is effecting a large number of hardworking Americans. Also, Thank you for taking the time to review and consider my letter.
From SF in GA:
Dear Committee Members:
As I follow the proceedings on C-Span and through the national news, I am very thankful when unemployment benefits are extended, however it has come to my attention that recent extensions were not approved for all unemployed Americans, but only for some. How can that be? How can lawmakers discriminate against the thousands of unemployed Americans that have exhausted their 4th tier unemployment benefits? I am one of those Americans that have exhausted all benefits and my question today is; how is the decision made to help some but not others; to be eliminated from the only financial lifeline that we currently have? The exclusion decision reminds me of those doomed individuals on the Titanic. A decision was also made for them as to who was to be saved and whose only chance for survival was eliminated.
Are our elected officials so out of touch with reality that they don’t know that there are no other financial means for me and thousands of unemployed Americans that have exhausted our 4th tier unemployment benefits? That just because they feel the “time is right” to remove our only source of income, that jobs are just going to magically appear? It is my belief that they are indeed informed, leaving me with the conclusion that perhaps they – just – don’t – care. The key point that I am trying to make today is that: it is through no fault of our own that we lost our jobs (I lost my job due to outsourcing) and through no fault of our own that we cannot find jobs due to the recession that America has slid into. We the people were busy going to work every day and going home to our families, participating in our communities, but apparently we were not watching closely enough to what decisions lawmakers in Washington were making; important decisions, some of which that carried the very ramifications that has put America in this quagmire.
Out of all of the men and women serving as America’s elected officials, sent to Washington to champion for America and Americans, is there not enough that care what happens if our only financial lifeline is eliminated? It is my opinion that this very important decision, if not correctly made, is going to enable yet another domino to fall in the domino-effect scenario which may very well take America from a recession into a depression. Perhaps those in disaster relief positions should be ready to begin setting up preparations to help feed and house millions of Americans, if America’s elected governmental champions choose to discontinue financial support to unemployed Americans while they are making every effort to find employment.
During this horrible recession, I feel it is an absolute necessity as part of a recovery plan, that there is implementation of a temporary moratorium prohibiting companies from running a credit check on new job applicants. For those of us that have been desperately trying to pay our bills on time, with our only source of income being unemployment, and as you know has thus far been unpredictable with regard to its regularity, has ruined our credit. Incomprehensible to me, but there is a stigma attached to people; if you have bad credit, you are therefore a bad person! If companies are tossing resumes due to a credit report prior to looking at a person’s qualifications, those of us unemployed Americans that have exhausted our unemployment benefits and have no other source of income therefore resulting in bad credit, will never get back to work!
In closing, I must tell you that as I reread my letter, I find that it screams desperation and frankly that provokes a touch of anger in me, which prompts me to reiterate what millions of Americans are asking…if our Federal Government can produce funds to bailout multi-million dollar banks, and produce billions of dollars to fund wars, why can’t it produce funds to help unemployed Americans until such time that we can all get back to work? It angers me enough to swallow what little pride I have left, and further add that since exhausting my unemployment benefits, I have lost my home and rely totally on housing and financial support from my 80 year-old mother, whose only source of income is her monthly Social Security check.
From KK in CA:
Thank you for your efforts to get our voices heard.
I am 40 and live in the Bay Area in CA, where the published unemployment rate is 11.7%, but in reality I would guesstimate, that if you included the people like me that have exhausted their benefits that have now dropped off the official published unemployment rate, that the actual real unemployment rate is 13-17%.
I have an MBA from a top 50 school, international business experience, an entrepreneurial background, and yet have been unemployed for over the 99 months, not for lack of trying. I have been networking within over 10 large organizations, attending industry conferences, and have been retraining myself using my unemployment benefit funds to take classes from our local utility company, as well as earning certifications in energy efficiency, green building, and energy/sustainability management because this is a long term personal passion of mine.
Also, I have been a long-term part-time volunteer for over 8 non-profits during the time I was receiving the unemployment benefits. I feel like I have been doing a very valuable service to the community and region where I live, and I have been utilizing this time of unemployment benefits well preparing myself for a wonderful career in a growing industry.
Unfortunately, I have made it to a number of interviews, even including a few positions that I was told had over 1000 applicants, but not gotten any offers. I have made it to the final round of interview for multiple positions, but when it comes down to the final round, the employer would rather pick someone who hasn’t been unemployed as long as I have even though I have worked hard to become a Certified Green Building Professional, a Certified Energy Plans Examiner, a LEED Green Associate, and have taken over 50 free energy efficiency courses from the one of the best utility companies in the nation.
Also unfortunate, I have learned that these positions seem to be offered to younger people, typically with little to no experience, but many times without a stigma such as long-term unemployment, and an undergraduate degree in environmental science/engineering, even though I have offered to take an entry level job and entry level pay just to get my foot in to the energy efficiency industry.
This whole experience has been a nightmare for my family! It has led to depression issues for both myself and my wife. My wife is a public school teacher and since my benefits ended in April we’ve had to scrounge our cupboards for food by the end of each month, have wracked up over $11,000 in credit card debt, exhausted all of our savings, upset family members and friends because of having to borrow from them to help pay the rent, our car payments, all of which has had a negative impact on our credit-which leads to a longer term problem for me in terms of employment credit checks, etc., etc…..
This all has also affected my wife and my marriage of 15 years so much so that we had to seek marriage counseling, but then couldn’t afford it any more after April when my benefits ran out. Even though my wife has tenure and makes a decent salary, it is not enough in the Bay Area as we barely scrape by every month because the cost of living is EXTREMELY HIGH here in the CA Bay Area, and her salary is higher than the national poverty average which of course further prevents us from receiving any public assistance such as welfare, food stamps, etc.
All of this has led to tremendous stress for my wife and I, and our children, and she has threatened to divorce me multiple times because of not having a job, even though I am doing the best I can do taking care of our 2 children and our household, cooking, cleaning, doing all of the homework with my kids in the afternoons, applying to hundreds of jobs while my kids are at school, and never getting any offers except for minimum wage jobs, but then who will take care of our children and how can we afford that when after school care is in excess of what I would make at a minimum wage job?
Additionally, when I was receiving benefits my 2 kids were able to participate in after school sports, but since April we have had to discontinue any extras like after school sports that cost money, when food and keeping the electricity and gas on is a higher priority.
I don’ understand why AREAS SUCH AS NYC OR THE BAY AREA HAVE TO COMPLY WITH A NATIONAL AVERAGE anyway when it absolutely does not reflect reality where we live and THAT IS probably MINIMUM WAGE HERE, AND NO ONE BUT someone living on the street or out of their car in this area could afford to live on.
Thank you again for helping Congress to hear pleas from the struggling long term unemployed. It would be great if Congress could further incentivize employers to hire people like me (similar to the SF Jobs Now type programs) which I don’t qualify for because my wife’s public school teacher salary is higher than the national poverty average, and penalize employers who don’t give people like me priority for positions. I really feel discriminated against, not so much for my age because I don’t look 40, but more so because of the terrible effects of long term unemployment.
From RC in CA:
My story is similar to many others that I have heard. I was laid off December 2007 as part of a company-wide layoff. Since then I have been unable to get hired in the industry where I worked for 27 years up to my layoff. That industry is property & casualty insurance. I am 53 years old so I’m nowhere near retiring.
When I first started applying for jobs, I was more selective about jobs located in Southern California. For the last year and a half, I have applied in many other states. I have also applied for any job for which I may be remotely qualified. I haven’t counted all of my applications, but there have been hundreds. I have had only a few interviews and maybe slightly more telephone interviews. The result is always the same; they find someone who is already working full-time. The simple fact that I have been out of work, makes it nearly impossible to get hired.
Recently, I accepted a part-time job which will pay about $200 a week. I was making $1,500+ a week. My wife and I have survived and kept our house based on her income supplemented by savings. We have now burned through most of our savings. We are faced with losing the home we have owned for 19 years because we can’t afford the mortgage and we can’t sell as the value is now below our mortgage balance. My two sons are relying on us for a place to live while they go to school. One of my sons works part-time while my oldest son has the same problem I do. He can’t get hired as he has been out of a job since Circuit City went out of business.
I have been laid off before, but I have always found comparable work. Every day, I see vacant business locations or signs on another business closing their doors. This situation is unprecedented and it will ruin our family financially. I hate asking for help, I have never had to consider this type of long-term assistance. It’s humiliating. I along with millions of other people need your help to stay afloat. Please do the right thing and help me, help all of us by extending unemployment benefits. Thank you.
From TH in OH:
My story is not unlike many others that have lost their UEC benefits. I have been without benefits for 10 weeks now. I have had to use my income tax refund which came from unemployment benefits. I had $1,139 in my savings from my refund and now I am down to $200 and that will be gone after this month. I am using these funds to pay for bills and food. I was laid off from the American Red Cross in February of 2008. I have a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Cincinnati, Ohio. This does me no good in applying for work. I have applied, applied and applied with few interviews and no call backs. I am even applying for minimum wage jobs but no results there.
I have never in my life had such a hard time to find a job. I am 48 and have worked since I was 14. My fiancée is retired and has to file for bankruptcy from using credit cards since my unemployment and that’s even with my benefits.
I know things are worse for those with children and those that are single and have had to move back home with a relative or those who lose their homes and become homeless. Our food pantries cannot keep up with the demand. The homeless are wandering the streets because our homeless shelter is full.
There are so many of us that have exhausted their Tier IV benefits and I plead with the congressional party to help us, save us and keep us on our feet until we can find any work that is available. I am depressed, frustrated and feel I am about to completely lose myself. I have no health care and I have to pay to see my Doctor $65 a visit just to get my blood pressure medicine and another Doctor $60 just to get my anxiety medicine I have had to obtain since I was laid off.
I wasn’t even able to afford my son and my grandbabies Christmas gifts last year and cannot afford to send presents for their birthdays. He has done one tour already and re-enlisted because he knows he would not be able to find work if he left the Army. He is stationed in Grafenwhor, Germany. I have not seen them in 2 years. This is a shame.
What will it take for the government to wake up and help those who were hard working AMERICANS and want to be hard working AMERICANS working again??? God Help Us!
From DC in FL:
I worked at a Fortune 100 company for 4.5 years. Promoted 3 times in that period. I had a family tragedy occur, two deaths within 10 days, and as anyone can imagine it affected my work performance and attitude. Instead of being forgiven for this situation, and offered help to cope, I was reprimanded. That obviously is not going to encourage someone to strive to do better after a tragedy. I was to be monitored for performance and attitude for 3 months and be coached bi-weekly. I sucked it up afraid of losing my job and went through it. I was never monitored or coached, even though I repeatedly asked for it. Afterwards as I was appalled at the treatment I received, I followed chain of command and told the next person what happened anonymously.
There was great concern from this higher up person about the situation. I kept my identity anonymous out of my fear to lose my job, but I could not let the mistreatment I suffered stand. I couldn’t let it become the status quo for the future either. Once it came time to reveal my identity to the higher up, the manager that mistreated me managed to speak with the higher up first. When I spoke to the higher up he was no longer concerned, instead he was dismissive. You can draw your own conclusions about the dramatic shift in attitude.
A week later, when we came into work, our computerized time clock was down. I went straight to work, then to lunch, knowing that I would use a manual time sheet later. I am a big guy, I eat a big lunch, and I don’t know about anyone else, but when I eat a big lunch, I am pretty sleepy afterwards. I came back from lunch, and was asked to clock in for the earlier time that the system was down. I wrote in the time I believe that I arrived that day. I also clocked out and in from lunch. Mind you technically the whole day that I was off the clock, including whenever I filled out any paperwork, because I was not technically clocked in.
A couple of hours later, I was called into the manager’s office by his underlings. They stated that based on the security cameras timecode that I had misstated my clock in time by 5 minutes. So I said, I’m sorry, I don’t exactly remember and I must have estimated incorrectly. Instead of allowing me to fix the issue, they instead sent me home, suspended with pay, while they did a thorough investigation. Thorough being less than 24 hours, I got a phone call from the manager informing me that I had been terminated, he didn’t have the human decency to terminate me in person. Neither did he have the courage to look me in the eye and terminate me for that reason. To me it seems like after I complained, they started to look for a reason.
They called my termination reason fraud. When I applied for unemployment I explained the whole story. Including the fact that I used to take a train 6 hours each way on my own dime to work part time on weekends. I busted my hump to make it in that company. I also brought forward evidence that I found out only after I was terminated. I found out that the security system’s timecode was not linked to a realtime hardware clock and was instead run by software and was not monitored for accuracy. I found this out from a manager who has investigated theft at the store, but could not prove it because the timecode fluctuated hours at a time. Because of that I was granted unemployment. The company decided to not appeal the decision, if it was really fraud, would they not have decided to make an example?
I appealed to the company’s HR department. They said they would investigate the whole situation. During the ensuing 6 months, I found out that the manager who terminated me, was also terminated, then rehired but not at his original level. Luckily he got to go back to work, even though he had been there less time than I had. At that point I again inquired about the status of my appeal. I was told, that they forgot to do the investigation. Then as quickly as the initial decision was made, they did a thorough investigation and still denied me. I took it to someone on the board of directors, and then the same HR person who denied me, called me to deny me again. It’s a conflict of interest in my opinion to have the same people do the same investigation a second time.
Unfortunately for me, my job was common but not , and everyone knows me from my previous employer. They also know what happened, because when I went to look for work, I had to be honest with them. I’m an honest person, plus, if I lied, and they found out later, I’d be unemployed again. My work experience also disqualifies me for a lot of jobs, as they often won’t hire a person at half the wage they were previously making in another job. Again, I could lie and pretend I never had a good paying job, but if they found out I would again be unemployed. I do not have a college degree, though I am close. I hope when it I get it, I will be able to find employment in another field, in the meantime I continue to search.
Until this day, I will not bad mouth the company in public or private. Until this day I endeavor to get my job back. I wouldn’t be trying to get back in or unwilling to badmouth, if I didn’t believe that I was wronged, or if I was guilty. I’m not yelling fire, I’m trying to put it out and make peace. they say the truth will set you free. In my case, it has imprisoned me
From JS in MN:
To Whom It May Concern:
As one of many, many thousands or even millions of long-term unemployed United States citizens, I am writing to BEG, PLEAD, GROVEL, APPEAL, AND POINT BLANK ASK, for your assistance.
I have been out of work since February, 2008. I, on average, send out anywhere from 8-12 resumes and applications each week and have heard absolutely nothing. My wife Sherri and I are trying to survive on my wife’s disability, which is $1055.00 per month. This barely covers our rent, let alone the monthly utilities.
Since my unemployment ran out approximately 6 months ago, we have applied for assistance through Wright County of Minnesota. We have been accepted to Minnesota Care for health coverage and we get $189.00 per month for food stamps, which is not enough to even survive on.
I love the United States of America and thank The Good Lord each and every day for allowing Me to live in such a wonderful country. However, it seems kind of ridiculous that our Great Nation can spend billions of dollars on wars, space exploration, and every other kind of expenditure, but cannot find it in their grasp to assist those Americans who have work all their lives, (until this recession hit), to help this Great Nation become what it is today, by putting through another long-term extension for those long-term unemployed.
I appreciate everything the Government has done in regards to unemployment this far, however extending the dates people have to file does not do one bit of good for all the people that have ran out of benefits.
Thank you for your time on this matter and I look forward to hearing from you very soon with some good news.
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.
*Due to issues such as software compatibility, the letters posted here may contain some minor formatting edits to improve readability.