The other day, while listening to an online business show hosted by a financial expert, I heard the following comment about the recently enacted 13-month unemployment extension “They were increasing unemployment where, I think, you were going to get 3 years of unemployment benefits. And you know, when the third year comes due at the end of 2011, with the 2012 election cycle, you know that third year is going to be turned into a fourth year.” The person he was interviewing didn’t correct him, so it was likely taken as fact by the thousands of listeners that day.

Even members of Congress have a difficult time understanding the legislation they eventually passed, as this Arthur Delaney piece from December illustrates:

Wyoming Republican Sen. John Barrasso blocked a request to reauthorize extended unemployment benefits on Thursday, saying a better way to help the unemployed would be to improve the economy by giving “certainty” to businesses on taxes.

“This is about people who have been collecting unemployment benefits for 99 weeks,” said Barrasso, describing the bill he just blocked.

The public didn’t understand the unemployment legislation as a commenter at put it this way:

If this Tax-Bill passes as is, they’ll be receiving unemployment for the next three years, which means no getting up early, no commuting, no searching for parking, no parking tickets when you find the wrong spot, no unexpected car repairs for driving so much, no buying new clothes for work, no deadlines to meet, no dealing with stupid coworkers and “Evil” Bosses, and no reason to get a haircut or to shave again. It’s like going back to college again!!

In December, the Answer Bag had a question about three years of unemployment benefits:

The new plan is to allow people three years of unemployment payments. Another example of federal Government not caring about the future?

What do all these responses have in common? They are all wrong. 99ers – unemployed who have exhausted benefits – are not included in the 13-month unemployment extension.

Financial experts, politicians and the public are all misinformed about the 13-month extension of unemployment benefits. Why is this simple extension so confusing to so many? It’s a complete failure to communicate the message. Do politicians want the public to think that 99ers are covered under this new extension? Possibly, since that would take the heat off of Congress for not actually helping millions of financially desperate Americans.

Alison Doyle at did a great job of explaining the 13-month unemployment extension:

Under this unemployment extension legislation, unemployed workers collecting one of four tiers of benefits (ranging from 34 to 53 weeks) under the Emergency Unemployment Compensation (EUC) will be able to move to the next tier. Workers collecting benefits under the Extended Benefits (EB) program which provides 13 to 20 weeks of additional benefits to workers living in high unemployment states will also continue to receive benefits.

In addition, unemployed workers who are currently collecting 26 weeks of state unemployment benefits will be able to move into the federal unemployment compensation program once they have exhausted state benefits.

The agreement does not include a tier 5 of unemployment for workers (99ers)who have exhausted all state and federal unemployment benefits.

Additionally, the maximum number of weeks that someone can collect unemployment benefits remains at 99 weeks. Currently only 24 states have a 99 week maximum.

Millions more 99ers are in the benefit exhaustion pipeline. Unless politicians, financial experts and the public are made aware often that 99ers are not covered under this extension, Congress will continue to deem the issue settled and millions of Americans will be left with nothing; holding the bag while the elite and powerful enjoy the fruits of an improving stock market and unfunded tax breaks.

Don’t let misinformation take control of the issue. Tell friends, family, the media, your representatives and anyone who will listen that 99ers are not part of the unemployment extension. The unemployed who have exhausted benefits need assistance, since the job market is not creating jobs nearly fast enough.

Repeat after me: The 13-month unemployment extension does not extend benefits past 99 weeks.


The unemployment system is dysfunctional at best. It offers people a chance to receive some much needed funds for a certain period of time, but it fails to address many factors such as long term unemployment, job retraining, and the social consequences of unemployment. Professor Richard D. Wolff offers some observations about this dysfunction system in the following video.

Richard D. Wolff, Professor of Economics Emeritus, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, speaks on how unemployment and its far-reaching effects in society. More information and other insightful thoughts can be found on his website, at

You can read additional posts on unemployment at Rochester Unemployment Examiner.

Bruce Beattie

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The story that follows is the partial story of 99er and registered nurse, Kerry Tierney. The first part of this story can be seen at Unemployment Examiner: 99er Kerry Tierney shares a story of disappointment, frustration, fear and hope

In a follow-up letter Kerry expanded on her situation regarding job leads and how a registered nurse may not be in demand.

Times are most very difficult right now, my 14 year old daughter keeps bringing up the homeless shelter, and I believe deep down inside she is terrified of us ending up there.  To be honest, so am I.  I don’t have any other options up my sleeve, and have written the government until my fingertips hurt.  Sometimes for up to 14 hours a day I have sent emails to Congress, the Ways and Means Committee, and so forth.  They keep telling me it will take “time.”  Time is the one thing that is not currently on our side, especially with the landlord breathing down our necks.  I saw a news blurb today about the government potentially helping Americans out with their mortgages, but nothing in that piece about persons who rent apartments. There used to be a thing known as Section 8 in Illinois, but that has been closed, with no word of it ever opening up again.  Section 8 might have been an option for us.  I have also looked into federal grants – nothing available there either for rentals.

As far as  me being a registered nurse and out of work, I believe part of the mystery lies in my age.  I am almost 50, have been out of work for over 2 years, and potential employers are hesitant to hire me.  I have NOT gotten one phone call or email from a potential employer for an RN position since I began my search almost 2 1/2 years ago!  Not one!  How odd?  I do not understand it either.  My educated guess would be that the employers are hiring new graduates, so they can pay them less and have to earn their benefits (health insurance, etc.) after 90 days employment.  Just a guess.  I have heard the same thing from other nurses as well.  In Illinois, it seems we are at a total stand still with jobs.  My only other guess would be that people are working 2 and 3 jobs, leaving none for the others that are still searching?

I did get a nibble of an invitation, on Dec 23, 2010 for a possible medical transcription position opening up recruiting in Jan of 2011.  I sent my resume and am waiting to hear back from them.  I just finished my MT (medical transcription) course in Oct of 2010. No experience equals no job. Oh, do you wanna hear another kicker?  My MT instructor, upon completion of my course, wrote me an email saying that and I quote, “most employers will not hire retired or disabled nurses as medical transcriptionists” because “they are notoriously bad spellers.”  She went on to say that one employer posted on her site, “if you are a nurse do not even bother to apply!”  Can you imagine my shock upon reading this?  Why did she not bother to tell me this PRIOR to my taking the MT course?  I think I know the answer to this, for the money, of course!  I have not given up hope however, I just keep on looking – in spite of what she had to say.

I am stumped however, with 2 degrees from college, I should be able to find ONE job!?  In October of 2011, I will be able to drive a school bus again, like I did back in college.  I have to wait because the State has to pass you – some kind of driving release.  I am ineligible for this job because I had some financial problems 2 1/2 years ago, could not afford my car insurance for 2 months, so I had to apply for SR 22 because I was driving on a suspended license and had no idea!  Anyway, I will be able to drive the bus again in approximately 10 months.  I have never had any tickets, accidents, DUI’s, nothing on my driver’s license – except for that one instance.  I have applied for some local driving jobs…but nothing yet.

These are basically the three things I know how to do for work.  I have experience with nursing and driving, but no MT experience (outside of college).  I will work hard, and try to give any potential employer my best effort.  The ideal job would be to work in the transcription field, either from an office or from home.  I am still looking Mike, every day.  I know something will turn up.  It has to!  I want to work so much!  I want to earn a paycheck again.  I want to be able to provide for my daughter and myself.  I always thought that by becoming a nurse, I would be set for life, but I am finding that this is not the case.

I asked Kerry to send me her resume to post here. If you are aware of anyone who may be interested in hiring Kerry or helping out her family during this difficult period, please send her a note.

Kerry Tierney

•   Naperville, IL                          Email Address:


Objective: To continue in the practice of my profession where I can be of constructive help in

accordance with my background, training, and experience.

Work History:

2008 to Present      Attended school for Medical Transcription Certificate Program.

2006-2008              Nightingale Home Healthcare, Burr Ridge, IL

Home Health RN – RN case manager performed home visits throughout Chicago and

suburbs; admissions, labs, record keeping, and patient care.

2005-2006             Maxim for Healthcare Services, Naperville, IL

Agency RN      – Performed patient care at various hospitals, LTC’s, MD offices,

etc.; also cared for 11-year-old child with trach and G-tube.

2002-2004             Health Systems of Illinois, Lombard, IL

Utilization Review Case Manager – Performed telephonic chart review for Illinois

Department of Public Aid, utilized ICD-9 codes.

1999-2000             Central DuPage Hospital, Winfield, IL

Pre-Admission RN – Interviewed patients prior to procedure for Anesthesiology

Department; worked directly with Anesthesiologists.

1996-1999             Delnor Community Hospital, Geneva, IL

Same-Day Surgery RN – Post Surgical Unit RN – Patient care for pre and post

surgery, and med/surg patient care; also charge nurse duties.

1990-1995             Mercy Center for Healthcare Services, Aurora, IL

Hematology/Oncology– Infectious Disease – Post Surgical Unit RN

Administered Chemotherapy, med/surg patient care: also charge

nurse duties; served 2 years on Unit Advisory Committee focused

on QA; became certified in Oncology; assisted unit manager

with candidate interviews.

Education: 2009-2010             Waubonsee Community College, Aurora, IL

Medical Transcription Certificate Program

1987-1990             College of DuPage, Glen Ellyn, IL

Associate Degree in Nursing, Dean’s list, Honor Student 4.0 GPA

References: Available upon request.

Educated, talented, dedicated professionals of all types are having a difficult time finding work. This is not for a lack of effort. The employment situation in the US is not designed to help the millions of long-term unemployed reenter the workforce. Limited retraining opportunities, as in Kelly’s case, poor credit scores, length of time unemployed and age all factor into a deteriorating jobs picture for the long-term unemployed.

Now that the president and Congress have addressed the needs of the wealthy and the connected, it’s time to address the needs of the long-term unemployed. American cannot get back on track unless Americans are able to get back to work.

Wishing you all a prosperous 2011.

Do you have a story you’d like to tell? were you rejected during the hiring process for being unemployed. Have you been the victim of a temp agency that won’t give you an interview because you are unemployed? Have you seen jobs ads for “employed only” or “unemployed need not apply”? Have you lost a chance at a job due to a poor credit score? Send your job rejection experiences and unemployment stories to

You can also view my updates and new posts at Twitter:

Huffington Post

Huffington Post is kind enough to give me a chance to post my work at their site. I hope to be able to spread the 99er word using their larger audience. You can see my efforts at:

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layofflist on December 28th, 2010

The following is a guest post from Andr’e Hubb, a musician and 99er.

For many of the millions of unemployed workers who will be losing state and federal benefits, the chances of their lives being radically altered is no mere afterthought. If no action is taken by our elected officials, the changes to their lives will be drastic and unnerving, including for some – dare I say it – homelessness. I know, I’m living it.

On Becoming A 99er

I’m Andr’e Hubb, a musician and 99er. Two years ago, with no sustainable long-term employment in sight, I joined the ranks of the millions of unemployed receiving weekly benefits. Living in a state with one of the nation’s highest unemployment rates afforded me the fullest extent of state and federal extensions – 99 weeks.

Born into a community of working class southern Blacks who had migrated north, as an adult it has been easy emulating their work ethic, finding employment virtually anywhere I lived in the U.S. (although ‘technically’ unqualified at times for the lack of a high school diploma). But in the 1980’s, I stumbled upon the concept of ‘temping’ and for the next two decades virtually every job I held began as a temp assignment.

Eventually, intervals between assignments increased and day labor wages were not enough to sustain me.

The Shadows

From my point of view, subsisting on unemployment benefits has never been a negative, particularly since I had contributed labor to receive it and I paid income taxes on it. But as the exhaustion of my benefits neared and I contemplated the uncomfortable notion of being totally income-less, I knew I was going to be dealing with something worse than unemployment.

Having flirted with homelessness in the past, but only for days at a time (or as I euphemistically called it, houselessness), I eased onto the streets. I was convinced that a political or other breakthrough would be imminent, so I allowed a few days to go by. The days turned into weeks. But it wasn’t until a neighbor crossed my path and placed one hundred dollars in my hand that I accepted that I was indeed homeless and living in the shadows amongst the uncounted.

The Great Outdoors

While outside, I walked. I walked hours at a time and mostly at night. During the day I learned to thrive without looking ‘too’ dispossessed. I knew the location of the local shelter but I chose not to use it. Individuals would approach me for cash, something I found ironic. For sleep I relied upon power naps at inconspicuous public sitting areas, always sitting straight up (sometimes falling over), aware that laying my head down would give police or other security personnel reason to harass me or threaten arrest for loitering. For food I received bread and pastries from the Salvation Army, and later, I volunteered, which provided a meal per day.

Revitalizing My Life

I began spending my mornings with some very inviting individuals at a senior center. While observing one assisting the other with senior issues, it occurred to me that I had gone two years without contributing to social security, something that struck me as dangerous to my own retirement. So, I decided I must commit to a new income structure, revitalize my life and restore it to some sense of normalcy. I contemplated everything, including a public life in music.

The Music

My musical journey began in earnest at the age of three years old playing piano. By the age of seven, and through my mother’s efforts, I was deeply engulfed in gospel music, and by my sixteenth year it was time to start thinking about my own musical choices.

Unfortunately, music did not become my main career, and frankly, I was rejected by the industry. Nevertheless, I continued writing and arranging understanding that it could still play a major role in my future. From time to time, I worked with various artists and invested in small projects, but mostly I focused upon the use of personal computers for arranging and writing projects without the expense of studios and session musicians.

This time I wondered if my music could transition me from my current state? Could my music have real value in the eyes of the general public? Could I circumvent an industry that had rejected me decades before and use the Internet to successfully disseminate new music? Could putting my life under public scrutiny in the age of the Internet be worth it? There was only one way to find out.


‘Lounge’ was just another song that might have languished in my unpublished catalog, but when the urgency of a career change began to take hold, ‘Lounge’ took on a whole new meaning. Fortunately, it was near completion.

Suddenly, it was exciting knowing that I was going to be calling up a variety of skills and experiences from an eclectic history of temporary assignments to begin merging them into a business to not only sustain me but administer new product offerings to the general public.

A Lunge Towards a New Future

While I’m requesting public support to professionally complete the upcoming CD, “Presenting Andre Hubb,” this chosen work alternative is redefining my future as my natural vocation lunges me from the shadows of unemployment towards a new income agenda in music.

For those who might be entering the very state that I am exiting, remember that we all have natural and/or learned skills that we can leverage to produce new products or services that are not necessarily dependent upon current business models but worthy of our own corporate ideas and stewardship.

For those who are federally legislating on behalf of constituents throughout the U.S. who are chronically unemployed, help them to avoid certain despair that no action on your part will inevitably produce. We are all coming to grips with the reality that the jobs we once took for granted will not be returning to the U.S., so, give us time and the tools needed to develop new and/or appropriate solutions for our nation’s future.

If you would like to contribute to the completion of this project, please pre-order “Presenting Andr’e Hubb” through PayPal as a donation of $9.95 (CD scheduled for March 2011 release) or at Click Donate button. Your order information will be used for your free download of ‘Lounge’ (scheduled for release December 2010). Redbud Trail Music (BMI). Follow Andr’e Hubb on Twitter: © 2010 Redbud Trail Music.

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