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.*
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 firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll publish them at Rochester Unemployment Examiner or at http://layofflist.org. Your stories are important and hopefully some of the clueless ones in Congress read them to see how their actions, or inactions, are damaging Americans both personally and financially at all corners of the nation.
As you can see from the following letters, this jobless recession has affected people of varied careers, education, and backgrounds. While many Americans enjoyed summer vacations, there were millions who didn’t enjoy their summer because their congressional representatives have abandoned them at the worst possible time. Congress decided to go on recess before passing extended unemployment legislation for upwards of four million unemployment benefit exhaustees – the 99ers.
Since a few of these letters are nine weeks old, I have found out that some of these people no longer have Internet access at home and have abandoned the email addresses they supplied.
If letter writers sent updates, I included them as well. I will update these stories as they are received.
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 every one of you.
Additional unemployment letters can be viewed at:
Here are the letters from the long-term unemployed:
From MG in DE;
I have never in my 57 years written or asked my government to do anything personally for me. Today, I am!! I am the mother of triplet girls who are now 27 years old. They have all graduated college with honors and without any government assistance. It is not that I am too proud to ask for help, but I was raised to believe that I should do things on my own and allow those less fortunate than myself to get the help they need. I was taught this by my father when I was afflicted with Polio in 1955, at the age of 18 months just months before the vaccine was discovered. I am asking for help now.
I have been working full time for 40 years and have always paid my taxes. I lost my first job after 25 years in 1998 due to downsizing; found another employer and worked there until my job was outsourced in 2007, found a third job and worked there for 2 years and was laid off due to the economy in 2009. This is the first time I have ever collected unemployment and I have been unemployed for 1 1/2 years through no fault of my own.
I have been married for 32 years and my husband has been diagnosed with several serious diseases, cancer, crohns disease and crippling arthritis who is now on disability. He is also a Veteran of the Vietnam War.
My unemployment is to run out the first of next week, my cobra runs out shortly and for the first time in my life, I am scared to death. I have been on interview after interview, application after application, follow up call after call. Interviews always go well but the competition is fierce. Rejections that I receive are very general without any particular reason given. When I ask if there was something during the interview that I said or maybe my resume needed to be critiqued, they all respond that there was not anything in particular,” just that they found someone else who was a better fit for the job” I am having problems sleeping, I am moody and probably suffering from depression but I am scared to death and don’t know what else to do. My fear is that I will loose my house, my husband will become more ill and I don’t know what the future will hold for me and my family.
I would much rather be able to find a job to allow me to contribute again and not collect unemployment but until that time when I can re-enter the workforce I am pleading for long term unemployment. Please, please do the right thing for the American people who have done the right thing for the US government for such a long time. I don’t have all the answers to all the problems that America is facing at this time in history, but I do know that it’s time that America looks out for us as we as Americans looked out for the United States for more years than the crisis we are facing now.
PLEASE EXTEND UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS NOW. VOTE YES FOR THE AMERICAN PEOPLE.
Desperately in need,
From LM in TX:
I am 35 years old, and I have worked since I was 15 years old. Before I was old enough to work, I sold Avon, cleaned houses, and did babysitting. My parents were able to provide for me well financially, but I have always had the drive to work. I have a good resume with stable work history until now. I have never had any trouble finding a job in the past. I primarily work in sales related fields, and I have held management positions.
My last position was an Area Manager position over cell phone kiosks spread throughout the state of Texas. I made a very good income, and provided well for myself and my three children. Unfortunately, the company went bankrupt, and I was given an hour notice that the company no longer existed. I did not see it coming at all.
I have hit the streets day in and day out. I do not just sit at home, and send resumes on-line. I mail resumes, fax resumes, apply on-line at all the job sites, and visit companies in person daily. Also, I follow up with my attempts to try to figure out the reason I am not getting hired. The main reason is every advertised position is overwhelmed with applicants. They can pick the cream of the crop. It is very hard to convince a company that your sales ability is top notch when your company just went bankrupt. I am growing close to being out of work now for two years. That just knocks me out of the top even further. Why would they hire someone with those two major negative problems when they have so many applicants to choose from?
Meanwhile, the unemployment checks are barely enough to keep a roof over our heads. Groceries and gasoline costs are killing me. It is so discouraging that I just don’t know where to turn. I’m so tired of hearing “thanks” but “no thanks” and watching my children eat ramen noodles every day. Now, I have been without my unemployment checks for 3 weeks. I have no idea what to do next! Anyone that knows me will tell you I am not just riding the system or halfway looking for a job. I don’t want to have to receive these checks anymore than the government wants to pay them, but without it, I won’t even have a way to look for a job any longer. This will be a snowball effect for me. I have always held firm in my belief that homeless and jobless was a choice that a person made. My opinion is now changed. I now see how it can happen. Also, I know that is where I will be, if there is no extension. That’s all I have to say!
From AB in OR:
Please consider this letter as a submission to your discussion on extending Long-Term Unemployment insurance for those who have exhausted their 99 weeks of benefits.
I am 49 years old and have worked continuously since I was in High School. I have never seen things like they are right now. In the past I have always been able to find employment by knocking on a few doors. Now, when I knock on doors I encounter group interviews, lines of people, credit checks, no call backs and unreturned follow up calls after interviews. I am embarrassed to admit to anyone that I have been unemployed for over two years. Never in my life have I felt so degraded as I do right now. Currently, my job search involves applying for positions that I have previously applied for at some point in the last two years.
All that I am asking for is an investment in me so that I may be allowed additional time to find employment during these difficult times. Over the years I contributed my time, creativity and dedication to society and suddenly this burden was tossed upon me by no fault of my own. My dire straights were brought upon me not by my own actions, but by the selfish actions of others on Wall Street who made greedy decisions for themselves.
From JS in CA:
I am one of the thousands of long-term unemployed. I have like many others exhausted all benefits and have been without benefits for 4 months now. I was in mortgage as a loan assistant for GMAC Mortgage which has literally gone away as many other mortgage companies. I lost my home of 5 years, my vehicle and had to file bankruptcy.
I like many others have sent out hundreds of resumes either by E mail of fax rarely or never getting a call for an interview. Sunday’s paper may have 10 jobs available from A-Z…. there are NO jobs. I used the benefits to pay for a medical billing course to re-train but when my benefits ended I could not pay the last tuition payment and could not take my national exam for certification. So without the benefits to pay that course my completion is in jeopardy.
I am now a renter. I have moved 3 times in the last 3 years due to loosing the lease or having the home I’m renting in jeopardy and going into foreclosure. I take care of my 82 year old Mother who lives with me and I am 61. My age also makes it harder to find work but I always have. At 62 this year I can go file for my social security which I did not want to do before my retirement age of 66.
Like I said I have always worked and wanted to build on my SS and work till 66 but now I can’t. I know I’ll find work as hard as I’ve been looking but what do we do in the meantime?? Also I expect it will be under employment as indicated by one job I sent a resume to. It was a receptionist job at a real estate company… it said part-time weekends are required… must be real estate licensed and top computer skills plus customer service. I have all that so I applied by E mail. I got an E mail back and the lady says the job is weekends ONLY @ $8.50 an hour. Can you imagine that only 2 days 16 hours at $8.50 an hour… with all my skills.. that’s what under employment is and that is all that is out there for jobs.
Please extend a Tier 5 or 6 if necessary to get us thru the rest of the year. Top economists ( all of them) do not see a turn around on the unemployment picture for a very long time. We cannot ALL get on welfare and food stamps especially in the wonderful and broke state I live in California.
From DF in NY:
This is for the June 10th, 2010 hearing for the Extension of Unemployment Benefits for the people who went over their 99 weeks of Unemployment Insurance. We need a Tier V and we need it now.
I have been unemployed for over 2 years. My unemployment benefits ended on March 31st, 2010, which means I went over my 99 weeks of benefits, to no fault of my own. I have sent out hundreds of resumes and received a handful of responses. I have exhausted myself to find work. Do to my severe financial situation I have not had healthcare insurance for over a year. I am just about to lose my Life Insurance. Does my death have to occur so my family can put food on the table? I worked for 30 years and gave thousands of my hard earned dollars in taxes for the Unemployment Insurance Program. I want my money back. I gone for help in my State of New York to help me pay my gas and electric bill which are both over $400.00 and all my state gave me was a lousy $50.00 to each bill. Once again my State Taxes at work. My husband and I are down to one meal a day, that’s it just dinner, no breakfasts or lunches in my household.
President Obama’s Job Reform is not working in my household. The only people gaining from this reform bill is IT Technicians, Road Contractors, Scientists, and Physicians, anyone with a college degree. We have been once again shoved under the bus by our administration mirroring the Bush era. What happened to this government of “We the People” this adage is only meant for professions that will help out our government went they need their polling data to go up.
If the republicans don’t want to agree on this Tier V extension than take away their jobs, their health and life insurances, the food on their tables, their private tuitions and basically their livelihood. We the 99ers want our money back and we want it NOW, not one or two months down the road but today. I will be dropping my support for the Democratic party. I am sick of living this way, POOR, 2012 elections are right around the corner and you are going to have thousands stay home and not vote or switch parties, then where will the country be? Right back to where are now. Mark our words we will not vote.
From MW in MI:
I am unemployed. Becoming unemployed was not my fault—I was stricken with heart problems (atrial fibrillation and congestive heart failure, followed by open heart surgery) in October, 2007. When I was physically able to return to work, I found that my job had been eliminated.
I have no money. There are no jobs in the area where I live (the Upper Peninsula of Michigan). I cannot afford to relocate (and there are no jobs to relocate to). There are millions of Americans in a similar situation…yet Congress continues to ignore us. Members of Congress must understand this—elections are coming up, and the millions of us long-term unemployed will remember who has tried to help us, and who has ignored us!
PLEASE do the right thing and work for passage of another tier of unemployment benefits, to help us survive until jobs are available!
From WM in PA:
Dear Committee Members:
My name is W M. I am a 37 year old from the Pittsburgh Metro area who like millions of other unemployed Americans, has been feeling the extreme feeling of helplessness due to the economic crisis, and continued non-existent job market. I have been unemployed since December 2007. My employment background is in Human Resources/Corporate Recruiting, a sector that has been especially hard hit since the beginning of the recession.
I exhausted my unemployment benefits in Mid-March, and to be quite honest with you, I’m not sure how our family has survived financially this long. There are millions of “99’ers” like myself who have been thrown aside by the officials we elected to protect the well being of each of us. This has not been the case, not even remotely.
The elected officials who have forgotten the millions of us, who have been hanging on by a thread is completely unacceptable and needs to be addressed with the quickest dispatch. The jobs report that was just announced is on the same level of a company that has padded its inventory. The jobs report reflected temporary Census positions that will end this month. This is NOT job growth. My family has suffered greatly since my unemployment extensions ran out in March. There have been days that we have not eaten. Our utilities are facing being shut off. We have no health insurance, etc. Again, your committee needs not only to focus on a “Tier V UC Benefits Extension”, but a viable extension of
UC Benefits that will sustain the millions of unemployed Americans until the job market truly does begin to turn around. In my field, there are no jobs whatsoever. Since my layoff, there have been a very few opportunities to apply for positions. Another problem that we are facing is that people like myself have applied for jobs far below our professional level and have challenges with such employers under the guise that “when the job market turns around, this person will leave”. It is extremely frustrating!
I cannot express enough urgency that a Tier V UC Benefits Extension needs to be passed to provide relief to millions of people in this country. If the United States can help bail out countries in the EU, most certainly the members of Congress, The Senate and your committee can ensure that AMERICANS are taken care of until the job market improves!
It goes without saying that November Midterm Elections are quickly approaching. Bear this thought in mind that millions of Americans like myself are going to be voting in November. What happens now will certainly have an effect on how votes turn out, and whether incumbents will be reelected or not.
Again, please do the right thing and make sure that Extended UC Benefits are approved ASAP. There are millions of people counting on you! This is absolutely critical, and needs to be passed!!
From MR in NJ:
To Whom It May Concern:
Respectfully, I would like to submit my personal experience with long-term (post 99-weeks) unemployment to the Ways and Means Committee for your consideration with future discussion on appropriate legislative measures.
I have always been an overachiever. That quality has been my “ticket” to my (until currently) success in the work world: I graduated high school at 16, immediately entered a nursing program and graduated at 18, and received a second degree in medical laboratory sciences at 21. I did this not only because I was fortunate enough to have the intellectual capacity to do so, but because I needed to assist in supporting my parents: my mother was already ill with Parkinson’s Disease and multiple other diagnoses, and my father, already aging, was working two jobs that were still insufficient for my mothers’ medical and pharmaceutical bills, despite health insurance.
For over 26 years, my work provided care and security for my parents, an uncle with Alzheimer’s Disease, and now my 82 year old aunt who requires daily assistance with her myriad of health problems.
Not for a single moment would I have done anything differently.
I did this so that none of my family members would have to worry about the roof over their heads, or food on the table, or the utilities paid for, or their ability to receive the medical care they needed.
However, a little over two years ago, my life changed in a way that none of that any longer is possible, for myself or my aunt.
It was not enough that a prior employer was unethical enough to require the FBI to raid his files on charges of Financial Aid fraud. This employer also was unethical enough to do away with my years of retirement savings.
No, it was the NEXT employer, a smaller business, who utilized the loopholes in the law to have me replaced during a medical leave of absence (which I needed due to a critical problem: a blood clot in my leg). It was a “hardship” to this employer to find (and financially compensate) a temporary worker in my absence while I was still on his payroll.
The fortunate thing was, after my NJ State temporary disability was completed, I was eligible for unemployment.
The unfortunate thing was, I was eligible for unemployment, and suddenly the open work world that I knew was seemingly gone in an instant due to factors in the economy and such that were out of my control.
The weekly benefit (in my case, $425 / week) was in no way sufficient to pay all of our monthly required expenses, plus COBRA health insurance.
So I dropped the health insurance, at which point I promptly was diagnosed with Chronic Late Stage Lyme Disease (with multi-system complications of course), which would require hundreds of dollars per month in physician’s care and medications; now all out-of-pocket for me.
Since I am the “head of household”, I tried my best to handle everything with what little I had: I used car payments to pay rent, used rent payments to pay car repairs, the classic rob-this-one-to-pay-that-one until it all fell apart………… my car, which is the mode of getting my aunt and myself to our phone book of physicians, was repossessed twice; I am still in rent arrears of over $1600; our electricity is on shut-off notice.
I approached a neighborhood church who had a community help program —and was turned away. Evidently there is a waiting list in our area for limited funds.
I was given the name of a counseling group since my lack of ability to properly take care of my family was devastating me, and my feelings of being a failure were overwhelming.
The counseling group had a waiting list too. I felt bad for anyone in sad enough shape to be suicidal and be faced with a waiting list.
Today, this day……….my unemployment benefits, all 99 weeks, have run out. I have a book full of job search documents, resumes, interview appointments, thank you notes…..and a section of comments ranging from “overqualified” to “not enough experience” to “not hiring at moment” and generally a whole list of excuses of why I am down to the cents in my pocket.
It has torn my heart out to explain this to an 82 year old woman in my care.
I am angered, as many in my situation are that it is obvious that the job-finding world is not improving as many in Washington seem to deceive themselves into believing. We have no issue or discussion in the finances for putting a bay window on the space shuttle, and funding overseas issues, but a few million unemployed people are left to fend for themselves, the majority having devoted their lives to the work ethic, and drowning years of experience.
I am angered at a party (no name) that feels it is just “too hard” to keep pushing for extended tier V benefits.
I am sorry we are an inconvenience.
From LP in PA:
My name is LP. I am homeless. Why? I have not been unable to obtain any legitimate work for over 2 and ¼ yrs. With the probably over 1000 resumes and applications that I sent and filled out during this period of time, I have had only one interview which did not pan out. There is something wrong with this because I am a well educated and experienced individual. Resume’ also attached. There is nothing more to tell but to please continue my unemployment compensation until I am able to get back on my feet. Thank You!
Sincerely, LP, Homeless in Lansdale, Pa
From PT in FL:
I have been a victim of this economic depression since 04/2008 and every day since have looked ardently for work. I am a Business Systems Analyst by trade and have even opened my search to lesser positions in an attempt to achieve gainful employment at no avail. During this period, I have lost my house, my car, the respect of family and friends and culminating with my wife leaving me for someone who is employed.
I urge you, on behalf of millions like myself, to support the immediate enactment of the long-Term solution to the 2010 Extension to the Unemployment Compensation Bill.
My benefits have officially ended as of the end of March 2010 and since then I have been homeless.
SO PLEASE HELP US NOW BY ALLOWING PASSAGE OF THE LONG TERM UNEMPLOYMENT BILL!!!
From MH in PA:
Dear Esteemed Members,
I am writing to you about the hearing on ” Response to Long Term Unemployed”. I have been unemployed for just over 2 years and my benefits expired May 2, 2010. I have applied for hundreds of jobs from financial sales to MacDonald’s, Starbucks and Rutters. I live in PA and unemployment is actually higher now than it was over 1 year ago. It is now 9.4% and was about 8.4% over 1 year ago when Sen. Casey was calling for an extension. Now he is saying “we cant afford any more help”. All the criteria for previous extensions with states above 8% still exists but Congress is acting like things have improved. Millions of jobs were lost in the recession and only hundreds of thousands have been created. 15 million people are still unemployed and 46% are long term unemployed. 1.5 million have exhausted their benefits by June 2, 2010 and not nearly enough jobs have been created.
Congress is just now coming out with anything that resembles a jobs bill and it has a lag time. Tax cuts are not going to spur employers to hire unless the demand is there.
At this point, I would like to address Macro-economic policy. I have a BBA in Economics and Public Policy from George Washington University and I can tell you that Government Spending is mandatory during a recession to create demand for goods and services and subsequently employment. I understand the deficit is a concern but without Govt. spending, any recovery we have is going to come to a screeching halt. Keynesian economics 101 requires govt. spending in a recession to stimulate demand and full employment. You address the deficit when you have full employment and tax revenues are sufficient to reduce the deficit. Additionally, where rates are now, the Govt should be refinancing all debt to reduce the accrued interest. I am not alone in my views and deficit spending is not a new concept. Here are some examples of economists who clearly state that continued deficit and stimulus spending are required to improve or even maintain the recovery. Nobel Prize winning economist Paul Krugman states in his article from May 31st 2010 in the New York Times titled “The Pain Caucus” he states that “it is a destructive idea to stop helping the jobless and start inflicting pain”. This is not about just extending benefits to the unemployed currently collecting but also extending benefits to the 1.5 million who have exhausted their benefits. Robert Reich in his article titled “Why We are Falling Into A Double Dip Recession” in the Huffington Post on June 4, 2010, states that “Why we are having such a hard time getting away from the Great Recession? “Because the people who constitute 70% of spending do not have enough dough“. “ Businesses wont hire if there is not enough demand for their goods and services”
Also, every dollar spent on unemployment equates to $1.63 in GDP because the unemployed spend their money immediately. Without it, we are going to see a rise in foreclosures again, loan defaults, increased demand on the welfare system and homelessness of epic proportions. Reich also says that “the answer is a second round of stimulus spending to include unemployment for the long term unemployed and aid to states that are whacking teacher jobs and cutting back on social service programs”. He also states that Congress can’t differentiate between short term stimulus spending and long term deficit reduction”. The deficit needs to be addressed through higher taxes which no politician is willing to address and needs to be done at full employment, not at a nationwide rate of 9.9%. I personally have questioned many Congress people for their specific economic policy they are adhering to in a recession that calls for reducing the deficit? I have yet to receive any response from any of them. My guess is because they do not have any idea, they are just parroting Wall Street and other rich campaign contributors. Our system of politics is seriously broken when they no longer listen to the “people” and continue to play media spin such as “HR 4213 helps the long term unemployed”. That is not true, people who have exhausted Tier IV are not being included in any extension even though the criteria for all previous extensions still exists. What is wrong with that picture? Lastly, I want to reference President Osama’s speech at Carnegie Mellon last week where he said “the nascent recovery still needs all the help the federal government can muster. That includes extended unemployment checks for people whose benefits have run out, more subsidies for health insurance, and more aid to cities and states, so dwindling tax revenues don’t mean more layoffs for cops and schoolteachers.”
“The economy is still fragile. So we can’t put on the brakes too quickly,” he said. “We have to do what it takes to ensure a strong recovery.”
Fighting the deficit now is the most backward economic policy you could take at this fragile time. President Herbert Hoover tried to address the deficit in his last years in office and the result was Hoovervilles. More people are long term unemployed now than during the height of the Great Depression. Worrying about our kids futures in regard to the deficit is not going to matter when they are homeless. As a lifelong registered Democrat, I believe we have an obligation to support some level of living to all American’s. We are still the richest nation in the world yet we face some serious changes if we don’t act fast. What is a country that imports all of it’s hard goods and only provides services? A COLONY! If we do not continue to increase demand through consumer spending which requires extended unemployment benefits, we are surely facing a round 2 of this depression. It has come to light this week that jobs are not being created fast enough as shown through only 30,000 private sector jobs being created. That is 2 consecutive months where the largest employer was the Govt for census jobs that will be over in August. That is not a recovery and is also just another method of Government spending.
It is getting to the point where I am no longer proud to be an American because of our treatment of special interest groups such as Banks and Wall Street. When are the people “too big to let fail”? We need a return to Glass Stegall so banks can no longer operate hedge funds. Then we wont have to rescue banks for gambling with public funds. If you want to be a hedge fund, fine, you can’t be a bank and vice versa. Congress is dependent on Wall Street contributions and no longer can remain impartial. It is worse than the news!
The financial reform bill is a joke. I worked in the mortgage business for 6 years prior to the implosion in 2008 and that was due to sub prime loans that were being packaged and sold as solid bond investments when the failure rate was way above what they were being insured for. I could have told you in 2007 that the lending criteria was a joke and allowing people to buy homes at 100% LTV without paying off previous collections was a recipe for disaster. It made a lot of people rich and now it has caused a lot of heartache. The lack of regulation and standards was negligent and criminal. Now the Financial Reform bill outlaws Sub-prime mortgages but they no lo0nger exist. After that fiasco, Wall Street who was the buyers of all sub prime mortgages, wont buy them any more and hence the failure of over 100 mortgage lenders who went bankrupt with big golden parachutes for the owners. I am unemployed due to a lack of regulation of the mortgage industry but I don’t recall my bailout from Congress because I messed up and wrote loans that were within the industry standards that ended up going bad and cost a lot of people their jobs.
In closing, I believe I have presented a reasonable argument for the need to extend unemployment benefits immediately to the long term unemployed and more specifically, the 99ers. How it gets funded is of no importance to me, if you prefer, make Wall Street pay for the plague they caused with buying these loans in the first place and for Congress and all of American thinking we would not have a normal business cycle with a down turn and subsequently, a decline in home values. I am a 99er who cant find a job and had a job 2 years ago.
From CM in DE:
Dear Hearing for Long Term Unemployment,
I would like to take a few moments and share with you my story about being unemployed and how my unemployment benefits have been exhausted for over a month now and how are family is slowly starting to lose the things that everyone takes for granted (a roof over our head and food on the table).
I was previously in management as a trainer and instructional designer for over 10 years. I worked hard and have a college degree, several certifications in management and was working towards another degree in Human Resources Management. I was living the American dream. I did everything that everyone tells you to do. I had a great 401K, Life insurance and over 5 months in bills sitting in the bank in case of an emergency. I had only 2 credit cards and both were paid off and only used for large car or home repairs in an emergency. We live in a small 3 bedroom home in Newark, Delaware and have 2 small boys (which I waited to have kids until my career was stable). We never lived above our means and I drive my cars until they are well over 100K miles. My husband works but his income is very small so I was the bread winner making 60K a year. I’m not going to say we never worried about bills, but we were happy and able to buy our kids shoes and food when they were needed.
On January 3, 2008 I had just come back from being on Christmas break with my children since neither were in school and day care was closed that week. My oldest was 4 years old and my youngest 18 months. I went in for what I thought was going to be a New Year update meeting with my director and my boss who worked remote out of her home in TX. I was taking notes and suddenly they said “We are terminating your position here” It took a few minuets for that to register and suddenly I thought “Oh my Gosh I’ve been working since I was 13 years old and here I am in my late 30’s and have lost my job for the first time in my life”. I thanked them for letting me live my dream job with this company and said it was a pleasure to work with each of them and wished them the best. At that time another manager came to the door and had packed up all of my pictures of my children on my desk and I was escorted out of the building. Needless to say on the way home I started to panic I had never been on unemployment and had never been with out a job. My job at this company had been outsourced to another country and the sad thing is for 3 months I had trained the person that took over my job. It should have clicked in my head but it didn’t because I just always thought positive at work and gave 110%.
I went and applied for unemployment for the first time in my life and so suddenly our income was cut. I went from binging home $1,800 every 2 weeks to $300 every week in unemployment. So I immediately started to go through bills and see what was cheapest with different companies. Traded in my new van and opted to get a used car to drop my car payments down. I did everything I could to get out expenses way down. After I was done those I then started to do homework on how to go to the grocery store and how to get the best deals on food. I started to shop at food banks and dollar stores for as much food as possible and I can’t even tell you how many times I sat in the parking lots the first few times and cried because I needed food and even with unemployment we had to cut back and way back. I had to cash out my 401K from 2 companies in order to make our mortgage payment. The credit cards started to get charged up as car maintence was needed on my husband’s 12 year old car and the kids always needed new shoes.
I was on a national TV talk show last year in hopes to bring light to this subject and let other people know that they were not alone. I’m a normal person and struggling beyond belief. My husband is insulin diabetic and we could not even afford his medications with his health insurance co pays. So now he is off the diabetic diet and his insulin as we just can’t afford it. Surprisingly enough he makes $50 too much for us to get any state assistance food stamps, child care etc.
Last year when unemployment ran out we applied for a hardship on our mortgage and I now have one credit card that was charged off. It really upsets me since my credit score had been over 800 prior to last year. Luckily when there was another tier added we were able to pay the new payment and able to buy food each week and keep up on the utilities. It didn’t leave anything extra for us as we had to save some of my unemployment for used shoes and clothes for the boys, but at least we were able to eat.
This year my husband’s overtime has been cut out and his hourly salary has been cut and now we are just grateful he has a job. However, I have exhausted my unemployment which has now left us less $1200.00 each month and we are beyond struggling to eat and each month I have to go through our bills to see which one might be able to wait because we have to buy bread and peanut butter so the kids have something to eat. No more vegetables, no more fresh fruit. No new or used clothes for them this year. That doesn’t even begin to make me wonder how I’m going to explain to 2 kids that have been good all year long that Santa won’t come this year at all. Last year was really tight but at least they had a few things to open Christmas morning.
I’m spending at least 6 hours at night after the kids go to bed Appling for job after job after job. I want to work. I need to work and I would work anywhere doing anything at this point but the jobs are not out there and since so many of us have exhausted our unemployment we are no longer counted as being unemployed in the national or state statistics. This problem is going to get much worse as more and more people exhaust their unemployment. My kids say a prayer every night asking God to help Mommy get a job so that they can have apples and carrots to eat again. It’s so frustrating and I wish that they would approve either a tier 5 or extend weeks for tier 4 so we can eat and try to keep our homes. We as a country help so many others when other countries are desperate; I just wish that our own country would help the American people.
The Make your home affordable Plan was just approved for us and only dropped our payment down $40.00 a month. If I could afford a $40 drop in our mortgage I would not have applied for this in the first place. It’s no longer a matter of if we loose our home and car, but a matter of when with no unemployment. We have no where to go and so many companies require a credit check in order to be hired which now mine is a mess. It’s not because I’m lazy or don’t care it’s because I’m over qualified for jobs at McDonalds or a deli. I just got turned down for 5 different jobs stocking shelves overnight this week. It surely is a mess and I’m writing letters to anyone who will listen at this point. I don’t think there has been anyone saying anything about those of us who have no income or any safety net at this point. The homeless shelters here are full and we don’t have any family that could take us in. I have to stop and wonder how we will live a family of 4 in my husband’s car. We probably won’t have anywhere but the streets to go very soon because in order to have car insurance you have to have an address, unless Congress does something quick to help us I’m sure our family is not the only one in our shoes. We never meant for this to happen and we certainly vote every election, but I’m thinking if we do not get any help I will be sure to vote out who we currently have as they have not helped us 99er’s at all.
Please I beg anything you can do to get the word our about what is really going on and how it’s going to take a long time before there are enough jobs to get everyone back to work we need some sort of unemployment until this country can dig itself out of this mess. We are a strong country and I don’t think this problem will be with us forever, but it certainly isn’t going to happen overnight getting unemployed workers back to work. I honestly think that soon our countries slogan should land of the free home of the unemployed!
Thank you for your time,
I just wanted to take the time to write to you after reading your latest story “Senate Delays Unemployment…”. I am personally affected by this whole charade. I have been out of work since 12/08 and have found nothing tangible. I work in the medical field and the jobs that are available are either temporary or part time or per diem. It is an outrage that the government is dragging their feet with this issue! I was watching C Span earlier this afternoon in anticipation of hearing something positive about the unemployment extension. Instead, I hear several senators speaking about the cuts to Medicare and how it will affect the seniors. It was what Senator Lamar Alexander was saying that made me so riled up. He was talking about how he “perceived” the bill that he voted for in Dec. of 2009 and how it would affect him personally. Imagine – something hits close to home for a senator and they can’t stop talking about it! I wonder how they would feel if their paychecks were “held up” for a few weeks while their bosses/managers argued about that and other topics.
I was also listening to one of the other senators speaking about how we can’t go on taking on more debt because of Senator Bunning’s “40 grandchildren” and it’s not fair to them, etc…. Don’t get me wrong, Mike, I understand both sides of the issue. HOWEVER, if these senators would just realize that at least their grandchildren stand a chance at a future and making a decent living. Families like mine are disintegrating every day while we can’t find work, can’t collect any form of gov’t assistance and worry that at some point soon – we will be homeless. I am a 46 year old single mom with a wonderful 13 year old daughter to support/raise. It breaks my heart that I have to repeatedly tell her no, we can’t do this, we can’t afford that, Mom doesn’t have the money for you to go to your 8th grade dance. I am fortunate that I receive child support from my ex husband, but alas, that just makes it that much more difficult for me to qualify for any assistance. Our local DSS would take my child support and give me $100/month to keep for ourselves.
I have already lost my vehicle. I rent a single family home and can barely keep up with that. Luckily, both my daughter and I are able to participate in government healthcare. My sense of pride, stamina and normal good nature are all leaving and being replaced with fear, anxiety, stress and sleepless nights. I want Congress to hear people like me! I am not a “99er” as of yet, but it won’t be long. My fear is that my daughter and I will end up in a shelter or something. I have worked hard all of my life. I have paid my taxes, voted and never been arrested. I believe that doing good brings good back to you. Kharma is my motto. Somehow, I don’t think any of these senators will ever walk a mile in my shoes. They will never know what it’s like to live life on the edge. I can only hope that they will finally hear our stories and respond accordingly. Know that there are real people out here who are scared to death that they will be forgotten!!!
Congress must realize that millions of hard working Americans are and will be without any means of financial support if the don’t immediately implement Tier 5, an extended Tier 4, a jobs program or some other option.
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.
PBS News Hour 99er video:
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