I received more than 300 letters from those who submitted letters to the House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Income Security and Family Support .

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.* Below are a few of those letters. I’ll be posting other letters on a regular basis.

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 mike@layofflist.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, can harm Americans from all corners of the nation.

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.

As you can see from the following letters, this jobless recession has affected people of varied careers, education, and backgrounds. While many Americans will be enjoying their summer vacations and hosting backyard barbeques, there will be millions who won’t be enjoying their summer because their congressional representatives have abandoned them at the worst possible time.

Here are those letters:

From KB in AZ:

I am an award-winning human services professional who enjoys helping people, communities, and agencies expand their capacity to the fullest.  It has been my calling for most of my life.  I am ABD having completed my doctoral dissertation though I ran out of money before I could do my re-writes.  I did all of this because I wanted to learn as much as I could to be the best I could be as a community development professional.

My graduate education was primarily funded by student loans and I want to pay those student loans.  However, I was laid off 2 years ago when the economy went bad.  Since then I have been applying for positions of all kinds…kitchen work, janitorial, office work…it doesn’t matter as long as I don’t have to feel like a freeloader.  In the past 2 years I have lost my car and almost had my mobile home foreclosed on.  In a rural area where I live with no public transportation there is very little hope of working, so I have submitted resumes all over the country.

Thanks to the program that allowed for a re-packaging of my home loan (I have lived here 20 years) my home was saved by lowering the payments.  The payments and home insurance were made using my unemployment, now that the unemployment has ended, I don’t know how I will keep paying the mortgage.  I am 58 years old and my husband of 36 years is 72.  His disability insurance pays the bills but not the mortgage.  I never in my life thought things would end up like this.  I want to work but nobody will hire me.  I have even tried to be a VISTA volunteer and no one has picked me.

I am at my wit’s end.  I send out 10-20 resumes a week.  I have revised my resume several times using tips from employment agencies.  I have a resume for doing kitchen work, office work, and then my professional one.  I know there are people in the country with children who are having an even more difficult time of it and I make a daily list of things to be grateful for.  Still, it seems to me that given the great numbers of unemployed, it would make sense to extend a Tier 5 until the economy gets better.  Or, even better, create jobs that could help America through these hard times.  I would work just for living expenses.  At this point, it is hard to believe that I was chosen as Executive Director of the year for the State of Arizona by my peers.

Please try and think of ways to take advantage of the skills and knowledge that those of us who are unemployed have.  We can help get through this if you let us.  Thank you for reading my story.

From AMS in PA:

My name is AMS and I am from northeastern Pennsylvania.  I am 38 years old and have been unemployed since April 2008 after being separated from my job as assistant manager with a regional sporting goods retail chain.  Currently, I am in my third week of Tier 4 Emergency Unemployment Compensation, and without more weeks of Tier 4 or a Tier 5 added, my benefits will end in early or mid-July.  My primary background is in public relations and communications – I was a journalism major in college, graduating with honors from a small liberal arts school in 1994.  None of the above seem to be very good fields in this economy.  I also have good professional experience in customer service and retail.  Prior to being separated from my company in 2008, I had worked since I was 17 years old, including summer jobs in high school and college and parttime work in various campus offices as an undergraduate.

Over the past two years I have applied for numerous jobs in various fields, both fulltime and parttime.  In addition, I have registered with several temporary agencies.  One of the most frustrating parts of the job search process is the lack of communication from employers.  Many applications are done over the internet, and applicants rarely hear back from the employers.  It has also been indicated in the news lately that companies are unwilling to hire workers who are unemployed or who have been out of work for a long time.  This is just wrong.

In addition to an extensive job search, I have accepted any parttime, seasonal work that I can get.  I have helped at a local college in their campus police office during back-to-school time and also with their home athletic events.  I have also worked at our local visitors center during the busy Christmas holiday season.  Unfortunately, the visitors center was unable to hire as many workers this past winter due to budget cuts, so I was unable to work there during the 2009 holiday season.  I have been able and available for any work offered to me.

A scary part of this situation is being a Type 1 diabetic without health insurance.  My 18 months of COBRA expired October 31, 2009 and I was unable to obtain medical assistance from my county government because it was determined that my $280.00 weekly unemployment benefit was too high.  Taking care of my diabetes without insurance and on a very limited income is very hard, but I am doing the best I can.  My diabetes is under control – all of my doctors would agree that I am handling it very well and am employable.  I am so afraid that if I have no money coming in and can’t afford to take care of myself, I will end up in the hospital, or worse.  All I want to do is get a decent-paying job with good benefits including healthcare.  However, I am aware that in the near future I may have to accept parttime or temporary work until something else comes along.  In the meantime, I need some kind of income to live on.

I am currently living in a small two-bedroom apartment with my parents, who are in their 70s and both have physical problems of their own.  They live on a fixed income of social security and a parttime job that my father has as a campus police dispatcher at a local college.  I would love to be able to contribute to my household financially, but unfortunately right now that is not possible as I am just able to pay my bills and other expenses with unemployment funds.  I have tried to cut back financially, but there are certain bills and other expenses that must be paid.  I am worried that if my unemployment ends in July, I will not be able to pay bills or afford my medical expenses, nutritious food, gas for the car to get to possible job interviews, etc.  This will cause a very big strain not only on myself, but also on my parents, who do not deserve this after working very hard all their lives.

Thank you very much for reading my story and those of the others like me in this country.  We need your help right now in this difficult time.  Respectfully submitted, June 8, 2010.

From RM in WI:

I have been unemployed now for almost three years.  I realize that I may have used up all of my unemployment benefits but I’ve only been getting a little over $200 a week.  My husband is retired and receiving social security.  He was forced into early retirement at the age of 62.  I have been trying everywhere, including over a 30 mile radius within my area of living to try and find work–any work.  I’m usually an office clerk with data entry skills and knowledge of computers but the jobs I’ve been applying for have been part-time housekeepers, hotel clerks, all night dispatcher, etc.  I cannot find anything in the field I’ve worked in for over 30 years.   I’ll take any kind of work if I can just FIND ANY!  I can’t get an answer back from some of the places where I’ve applied and when I do and I go in for an interview, with the looks they give me I know I’m not wanted there.  I turn 61 this month and I know that it’s turning a lot of people off as far as hiring me.

If I could find a good job, I would not retire next year but would keep on until at least 66 or maybe even 70 years of age.  I feel I am a good asset to any office but that’s not what some people are seeing.  I know they are looking at someone who they consider “over the hill” and not worth a second look, much less a chance to prove themselves.

I really need and depend on the emergency unemployment.  It helps us to pay our bills and buy food and our medications.  My husband’s social security check will not do it alone.

I’m asking that you PLEASE allow more emergency unemployment to come my way until I can find a job or am forced into retirement and social security next year.

The State of Wisconsin needs to allow this to happen for not only myself but so many others.  I’m asking, and I’m not too proud to beg, that you help us.

Thank you for your time,

From GV in NY:

Chairman McDermott

Please Help and extend benefits.

I have been unemployed since February 2009.  My work history speaks for itself.  Educated, motivated and eager to find a job that will improve my life and stop dwindling down my savings, which slowly empties day by day just to live.  Do you have any idea what it takes to find a job that will pay the bills as they use to be paid, and have a little to spare.

Here’s the rest of my story 61 years old soon to turn 62 and going broke day by day.   The jobs are not plentiful and are paying nothing, but you continue to give to banks, fight the wars, and give money to other countries when you cannot support the unemployed??  I like the bonuses that Wall Street continues to give out.  But AIG is the worst of them and you gave them money but will not help us.  Please explain? So next for me will be food stamps and welfare?  Why do this?  I hope you realize just how many people are still unemployed, please don’t sugar coat the fact that the economy is getting better, it is not.  Say hi to Louise (Slaughter) I voted for her & she was a friend of my Dad’s.

From FP in NJ:

My name is FP, I am 35 years old and I have been unemployed since December, 2007.  I was a licensed title insurance settlement agent and have been my entire adult life.  I was laid off because the company I was working for had begun to downsize due to the failing economy.  This company eventually closed its doors for good.

In the midst of searching for work, my husband was laid off from his job due to downsizing.  This company eventually closed its doors for good as well.  This left us in a very bad financial situation as we were both unemployed at the same time and there were very few jobs to choose from.

This led to the foreclosure of our very first home which we are in the midst of negotiating with the lender for a short-sale.  We are being sued by our homeowner’s association because we have been unable to pay our association fees.  We have countless collection agencies calling and hounding us for money that we don’t have and we can barely afford groceries.

My husband finally found a job in September, 2009 but to our dismay, several months later, he was forced to take a pay cut due to the failing economy.

So, at this point, there is only one income coming into our house which is now significantly less than it was when my husband started his position.  The cost of living is rising and paychecks are decreasing.  I can not find any work and have been applying to every store, fast-food restaurant, company, etc. that I can think of.

We can’t apply for government assistance or food stamps because my husband has a job and according to them, “We make too much money.”  Well, we’ll see about that when you are passing us by on the street.  Oh, yeah, we’ll be the ones living in a cardboard box!!!

You have no idea how much it would help if additional unemployment benefits were given to those of us who have already exhausted our 99 weeks.  Don’t you want to see the economy improve?  Extend unemployment benefits for those of us who have nowhere left to go but downward.

From MM in AZ:

My name is MRM, I’ve been an Arizona resident since February 2009.  My work history comes from California, I have yet to secure employment in AZ.  I got laid off from Charles Schwab & Co. Inc. Dec. 31, 2002.  After that I could not find an employer willing to hire me as an FTE.  They avoided a head-count/benefit increase due to the beginning of the faltering of the economy that finally caught up with the rest of the country.   Employers avoided hiring FTEs by using contractors, temps and off-shoring jobs.

I am an Executive Assistant and temporary jobs were unavailable to me in 2008.  I moved to AZ early 2009 in hopes of finding a position in a smaller venue.  I’ve had 2 interviews despite submissions of hundreds of resumes.  I was laid off December 31, 2007 from a contract position of 16 months through Adecco working at the Bank of America Concord Tech Center in California.  I managed to survive on unemployment benefits until they were completely exhausted March 2010.  Since then, the help of friends and family have kept me from homelessness.  That will end very soon, they have families and their own needs.  Two of my sisters who work for the City of Los Angeles have 6 furlough days per month between them, including losses in pay for the days that they do work.  They are unable to help me, as they are stumbling themselves.  My younger sister who is on the Social Security Disability Ticket to Work Program, moved in with me so we could pool our resources in order help one another survive.

I just qualified for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program benefits last week, Food Stamps May 7th , which were supposed to be issued today for June, but my worker still had the hold on them pending receipt of additional paper work that I provided May 12th.  I am still awaiting the decision on AHCESS healthcare benefits June 16th.

My parents came to this country to make sure we were afforded the opportunities their country lacked.  I was born and educated in America, upper middle class.  All of my siblings and I have 4 year college degrees.  I’ve 20+ years of work experience and I’ve been reduced to poverty.  My younger sister went back to school to get her Bachelor’s Degree and she too can’t find work, despite more than 20 years of finance and teaching experience.

I would like to close with a quote from a local AZ newspaper last week:

“We now have one trillion reasons to oppose the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. On 5/30, those 2 wars cost one trillion for operations alone, not even counting the interest on the debt of that borrowed money, or the healthcare cost for returning vets.  It is an amount so incomprehensible that it can only be understood in terms of what it could have bought, rather than missiles and destruction. For one trillion dollars, we could immediately give everyone of the 15.4 million unemployed people in the U.S. a 50K job and still have 235 Billion left over…” Eric Stone, Mesa, AZ

From FO in NJ:






From KCS in CA:

My name is KCS, I have been laid off since 03/2008. I worked for (company) for twenty three years, the ten last years as a District Manager. I have been on over thirty five interviews, some people say that I am over qualified others say they thought I would not take the pay. I would take anything right now because my gas, phone and electric are all off right now as I speak.

I have never asked for anything free and I lost my job for no reason but the company had to cut back and sixty two of us are all out of jobs now of our faults will be homeless in two more months if nothing happens I look for work every day even Saturday and Sundays. And if they do ok this extension it needs to be retroactive so that we who have lost so much can get caught up.


From RW:

I have been unemployed since December 31st of 2008. I’ve been drawing unemployment checks since then. I received a letter yesterday saying my benefits have expired and after talking to a representative today it was confirmed. I thought a bill was passed so I could receive benefits for “99” weeks? There was a big deal made of it like it was the next coming.

Now, I can’t pay my utilities or house payment which I’ve struggling to do even with the benefits.

I’ve tried to reduce my house payment 3 times now and keep getting rejected. The first time I was told I had too much money in my checking/savings. At the time, I had around $4500. That was all the money I had in the world. They said as long as I had enough money to make 3 house payments, I didn’t qualify for a loan modification. After paying general bills and house payments, 2 months later, I was down to $2000. Again, I was rejected saying I don’t have proof of earnings sufficient for a modification. I’d sent them all my unemployment info. The last time I tried, I received a letter from them saying they recommend I sell my home. I owe $80000 on my home that was valued at $450000 just 2 years ago and now is valued at $200000. Even if I decided to sell, people can buy a brand new home for the same amount and….where would I go. I worked all my life since graduating HS and paid taxes to ensure something like this wouldn’t happen to me when I get older and look what’s happening. I can’t find a job at age 62 and am at the mercy of others who really don’t care what happens to me.

And, not even mentioning health insurance which has to be paid. I was aided by Cobra which, by the way, just ended this month also so I have to pay the full premium which I can’t afford.

I could go on and on but I’m sure you’ve heard it all before.

I guess my question is what happened to the “99” weeks of benefits that were supposed to be in effect?

Thank you,

From SD in FL:

I am sending the following suggestion instead of telling my story which I am sure is fairly typical.  I am now 58 years old and have worked steadily since the age of 19.  Two years ago I was laid off from an administrative assistant position with a property management company primarily due to the downturn in the building industry.  When I began to look for work, I was faced with age discrimination and a general lack of job openings.  I have now run out of unemployment benefits.  My suggestion is as follows:

Since the latest jobs report last month indicates an increase in hiring that is largely due to the Federal Governments’ employment of census workers, I believe the answer to the unemployment problem lies with the Federal Government doing what government has historically done in the past—create jobs programs which will put people to work, and give the jobless paychecks instead of unemployment checks. We are spending money on the unemployed anyway so why not get something back?  I see government jobs programs as win-win situation—the unemployed get their dignity back and the government gets workers to do things like clean up beaches in the Gulf and so many other things that need to be done.  Considering that there are so many professional, highly skilled, well educated people who are out of work, they surely must have something to contribute.  Only government can and should do this.  Instead of preaching to private industry to create jobs, the Federal Government should set an example and start the ball rolling.

From DM in CA:

HEART to HEART……Hardship in California.  We need a Tier V!

Tier V for the long term unemployed should be considered and approved.  It’s necessary, justified and the Democratic thing to do.

I’m a 50 year old female living in CA.  I was laid off in August of 2008 from (company) after a 15 year career in the middle of the recession.  Since then, it’s been unbelievably difficult to find work.  I have sent out about 1,500 resumes.  I’ve made sacrifices and cutbacks and have no industry or salary boundary or preference.  My 99 weeks is about to come to an end and sadly, still no job.  California has been hit hard and unemployment is still very high.  The state keeps cutting back on services and there are many layoffs.  The job market is stagnant, competitive and just discouraging. This feels like a war!  A war against the middle class and average American Citizen!

I had a great job with (company)and didn’t ask to be put into this situation.  I’ve worked hard all my life to not be in this predicament.  I’m not looking for a handout.  These are unprecedented times and this is a matter of urgency.  Weeks if not months go by literally with no acknowledgement or response to our endless efforts of applying for jobs.  During several interviews I was lucky enough to get, 100 or more people applied for the same position.  It’s awfully frustrating.  At this point, it’s a matter of luck!

What did we do to deserve this!

Extending Unemployment Insurance for the working class and long term unemployed would avoid a lot of pain and help us to survive while we keep looking for work and hope that the economy begins to rebound.

Welfare and Food Stamps as my means of survival is unacceptable and ultimately will cost everyone more!

Thank you for your time.

DLM in CA:

Dear Committee:

I’ve been asked to tell you my story in hopes to gain support from the elected officials that I have put into office.  I have read many stories from different sources about unemployment which included internet news, newspapers, unemployment websites, magazines and local area work centers about the numbers that are unemployed.  I’m one of them.

I have been working since I was thirteen years old.  I’m 56 years old at this time, female.  I do understand that some people take advantage of unemployment benefits.  In my lifetime I have not been considered lazy or one to take advantage of the system.  I grew up with morals and values for right and wrong.  I have raised two children on my own with no support from others.  I had started college very young but was unable to finish by my own choice.  I had decided to raise my children and to continue to work.  The most recent company I was working for had to lay me off because work was slow.  I was in a management position and the owner decided she could run the business herself and save money.  I have a wide range of experience in Management and as an Executive in the business industry.  I had decided it might have been my resume that was holding me back from a good position.  Well I paid a professional resume writer to rewrite my resume so it would be more competitive and appealing for the market.  Which did get me a few interviews.

I have applied for many different jobs, from management, customer service, retail, and office personal with no success.  I have used many free job finder services, from local employment agencies, local craiglists, monster.com, and even in different cities for jobs, Usajobs, and many more.  When I’ve had job interviews, I realized that there are other people with more qualifications which included Master degrees, Bachelor degrees and more college education for different entry level jobs which just had one open position.    Today on the local area news people had been lining up about 600of them outside of Campbell Soup Company since 5:00 am to be notified to get index cards to fill out so they could fill out applications later.  It almost turned out to be a riot.  It’s very disappointing and very disheartens when I hear people say that I’m lazy or not looking for a job.   I’ve been going back to college for the past year to further my education to be more competitive for different jobs and looking for fulltime work at the same time.

In the meantime, since I have no income or benefits at this time.  I’ve been selling different things, couch, table and chairs, trying to make any money to pay my bills.  Just to keep things going until my school checks come in, I’ve been living within my means.  It’s scary.   I understand that unemployment benefits are only for a short time but I’ve never had to compete with so many people for the same job.  I’m worried for the long term too.  Hoping that maybe with the education I’m getting I might be able to start a little bookkeeping business.  But, that’s going to take some time and money.   It’s an idea that could work.  There are just too many people just like me in the same boat.  I’ve almost been out on the streets with other people no home or place to live.  Don’t understand why the politicians help so many other people in the world, but think we just might go away.  Well, I’m still here.

Thank you for taking the time to read my letter. 


Mother, Sister, Daughter, Aunt, Cousin and Grandmother

From SW in TX:

As of the writing of this statement, I am a 59 year old woman who lost her job on January 18, 2009 from a law firm here in Houston, Texas where I worked as a paralegal/legal secretary.  I have been unemployed for a year and a half.  I have been searching for a job daily since I became unemployed.  During this time I have been searching on line on all the job sites.  I am listed with numerous head hunters; I have applied for jobs on Craig’s List and attended job fairs.  What I have found is that there are no jobs.  I have had 4 interviews in a year and a half.  There are numerous other individuals applying for these positions as well.  The office managers for the various law firms have told me that I am over qualified for the positions that I have applied for as they are looking for younger individuals, with less experience who will work for a lot less money.   Although I have indicated that I would accept 1/3 to 1/2 less than I have been making I am still passed over.  I have applied for part-time positions and contract positions but have never gotten an interview and no one has responded to my resume.  Since I am 59 years old and will be 60 years old in October they look at me as being ready for retirement and will probably only work for another few years.  I have been asked on many occasions if I will be retiring when I turn 65 which is only 7 years away.

My savings have run out, I am on food stamps and have a disabled brother that I have to take care of and I have no insurance and have medication for my heart which I need daily and will soon be unable to get because I will have no money at all to pay for it.  My unemployment will be exhausting soon and I have nowhere to turn for help.

My unemployment check is just enough to take care of my mortgage payment but soon I will not be able to pay it and will probably lose my home.  I have talked with Bank of American who holds the mortgage on my home and they have turned me down every time I have spoken with them about a mortgage modification because all I have is unemployment and no job to be able to make continuous payments; although, so far my payments have always been on time.  I can’t even sell my home because of the economy and the fact that my home is underwater.

If we don’t get additional unemployment or some alternative I will be on the street with a disabled brother with nowhere to go since I have exhausted everything.

So far you have subsidized wars, tax cuts, you have made bail outs to auto makers, banks and have sent money to Greece when you have millions of older people here in the US who need help and can’t get it.   I have worked hard and played by the rules and I lost my job through no fault of my own and so have millions of others just like me and we would like to be bailed out.

An alternative for people my age who are being pushed out of the workforce because of our age is to let us take retirement and get our social security so that we will have money coming in.  I have worked all my life and have had no help.  I should at least be able to have money coming in until I reach the age for social security because there are no jobs out there for me.  The majority of people who cannot get a job are older people like me and we deserve some relief.

From GS in PA:

I have been unemployed since December 2007. I have been looking for a full time employments ever since.

Right now, I am living on a part par time job. I work 2-3 days a week 4 hours a day at $7.25 an hour. I had to ask my friends and family to pay my gas bill and light bill. My phone service will be off within the next few days.

I do not even have money to get to interviews. I have applied for over 150 jobs at PNC Bank here in Pittsburgh. I have applied for hundreds of jobs at other companies. I even wrote to four CEO’s of companies to ask for jobs. I have written to several other owners of companies in other states.

I will not be able to go to my friends and family for very long. The unemployment I was receiving helped me keep my bills paid. I have a daughter I have to take care of. I have to feed her, and cloth her. How can I do that with $232.00 dollars a month? Yes, I get food stamps; I get $200.00 dollars a month. It does not last the whole month. I have to ask my family for food, or money to buy food.

Please we need to have a Tier 5 added on. If I do not get a full time job soon, I will be force to live in a shelter. How the US government cans lets us suffer like this. PLEASE WE NEED HELP, HELP US.

Thank you

From EH in NJ:

Committee Members

I am writing to you to tell you of my need for the extension of Tier 5 Unemployment Benefits.

I have been out of work since November 2008 and cannot find any work with diligent effort on my part to find any job—resumes, want ads, Internet, newspapers, applications to any possible opportunities, etc.

My family—wife, daughters and I have managed to subsist only on the Unemployment Benefits we have received.  The expenses for food, shelter, medical (doctors and medications), jobs search, utilities and auto have been eked out.  All of our savings and monetary assets are gone.

Now, with the cessation of my Tier 4 benefits, I have nowhere to turn except to plead my case to you.  Of course, I must continue my employment search.  I implore you to extend these benefits to help us.

You must also find solutions to create jobs and prevent them from leaving our country—and you should start in New Jersey to alleviate the excessive unemployment here.  I am willing and able to work at any possible job that can be offered.

Please consider this plea favorably—I am certain there are thousands of families like mine right here in New Jersey and throughout our country—as we have nowhere to turn.

Our fate is in your hands.

From MS in OK:

I want to express my views on the topic of long-term unemployment for those who have exhausted all their assistance.

I among others are seeking assistance from the federal government for help.  I have not had any working income since March 2008, and no unemployment since January 2010.  Although we have bailed out many institutions, assisted other governments, and other needless assistance to a few, the government has not helped the millions who are the backbone of this country.

I had been working on my MBA, worked since I was 13 years old, and supported my family for over 25 years, now I am broke, with no working future in RURAL Oklahoma.  I have NOT received the full 99 weeks like others in other states due to the restriction of the 8.5 % level assistance, Oklahoma is sitting steady at 6.5 – 7.0 %.

Please help ALL STATES, because the unemployed is just that, UNEMPLOYED.  Do not discriminate.  I like others have completed over 300 job applications, and have interview over 100 times, with no success.  Before 2008, in my job career and advancement, I was 100 % on 5 job interviews.  I am not lazy, looking for handouts, but simply want to pay for food, shelter, and try in a simple family life.  Thanks.

From RF in TN:

To whom it might matter,

I was employed as a Program / Project Manager in the automotive industry by a glass company. I led several successful launches such as the Subaru Tribecca, Mazda 6, Hummer and managed many small engineering changes. I was laid off in May 2008. I found a contract job in July that lasted 4 months, then I taught as a substitute teacher (geometry) for four months at a private school. Since then a few interviews, many, many applications and submissions and now my unemployment has run out.

I cannot, for the life of me, understand how our Federal Government can send billions of dollars overseas, spend many more billions on bail outs for those who are arguably criminals, and still more billions on wars we should not be fighting. I guess I know where my 30 years+ of hard work, paying my own way through school, and serving in the Army for four years got me? Nowhere, with little to show and a deep abiding distrust of all elected officials.

The last election is probably the last one I’ll bother voting in as nothing seems to change.


From DB in NJ:

My name is DB and I worked for Builders FirstSource, formerly Blackstone Company for, 4 weeks shy of, 24 years. We were dislocated on December 15, 2008 when the company closed their New Jersey operations. It was a good job, with livable wages, good benefits and excellent people. I literally worked there for half of my lifetime. Would be there today if I had my way.

We were assisted with our unemployment claims at work. I went to the One Stop Career Center the following week and signed up for all available seminars and services which I attended. I started the process for job training. Went smoothly but takes a while.

I started the Computerized Accounting program at MCC on May 27, 2009 and graduated on November 25, 2009. I did very well as the director or my teachers will attest to. I have an exemplary work history and an updated skill set. I have applied for over 200 jobs with no offers. Good jobs I wanted and could do, no “fillers”. Thru school and my PSG group I have met a lot of good people in the same boat.

I want and need to work. All I need is an opportunity and I know I can make a success of it. There are simply too many people for too few jobs, simple as that. Blame whatever or whoever you want, that’s just a fact. I will return to the workforce at my first opportunity. Meanwhile we need the Unemployment Benefits extended. I have never been late much less missed a bill payment in my life. I am a responsible, play by the rules type of person who just needs assistance until he can find an opportunity. And I am busting my butt to get that opportunity too. Please also consider some type of jobs program too.

Warmest Regards

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.

Long Term Unemployed

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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 mike@layofflist.org 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.

Sincerest Regards,

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.

Best Regards,

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:







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:

Chairman McDermott

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.

Thank you,

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

B.Sc. Biotechnology

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:


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:

Senator McDermott;

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:

Dear Sirs,

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.

Very sincerely,

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.

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Due to receiving more than 200 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 is 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.

There is still time to write; you can submit letters to House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Income Security and Family Support is holding a hearing until the close of business on June 24.

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 in a timely fashion.

From JB in MA:

Dear Chairman McDermott and honorable committee members.

I respectfully urge you to consider extending unemployment benefits for as long as possible for 2010.

I have been unemployed since November 2008 and have no prospects for employment.

I worked as an IT manager for a company for 30 years who moved our production facility over seas and has outsourced IT support to now be handled by the corporate facility in Tulsa OK.  Our company once employed 130 and now is reduced to 35 through what is called a reduction in force program.

In an effort to see employment and to make myself more employable I have taken the following steps to enhance my chances of success.

– Attended UMass Lowell College using my own money to finish my degree

– Attended Valley Works unemployment center seeking help in my jobs search

– Registered with an employment agency in Boston

– Registered with an employment agency in my home to of Acton

– Assisted in the development of a networking support group with my Church, Acton Congregational

– Posted my resume at several job seeking websites

– Networking through Classmates.com

– Networking through LinkedIn

– Sent emails to all of my friends and former business associates asking for help

As a result of these efforts for the last 19 months, I receive few responses form online submissions and the few I do receive seem to have eliminated the jobs posting or have found the posting to expire.  I have done extensive job searching through USAJOBS.COM hoping to land a government job.  Many of the positions require very specific talents or require a security clearance which one cannot acquire on their own.

Having to also pay for my health insurance which is required by law is depleting our savings.  We are now taking the steps that we have feared for several months now by listing our house for sale in an effort to make ends meet.  I am 54 years old and have worked hard all of my life and have never been out of a job.  It’s very difficult to look into my wife’s and daughter’s eyes and tell them that I’m doing everything I can to find work, but to no avail.

Please help me and others like me who are hard working honest Americans trying to do the best we can.  I know how great this country is and I’m confident that things will turn around but folks like me need help.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Kind regards,

From BJ in CT:

Dear Chairman McDermott:

I am compelled to write you in thanks for your strength and dedication in the effort to resolve long term unemployment.  I was so hopeful for the first time in months when you announced that the Subcommittee will hold a hearing on possible policy responses to long-term unemployment on Thursday, June 10, 2010. Please know that I, and everyone I know of that are currently unemployed, are not enjoying our situation. This job market is so tough; that even after 30 years of business and financial experience, I find that I can no longer define myself by what my career was, or the education and experience I have attained, but how I am attempting to survive this economic recession and maintain just an ounce of respect before it squeezes the life out of me and my family.

I am currently in my fourth layoff.  The first was in early 1991 and the third and fourth were within ten months of one another.  All of my layoffs were large layoffs due to company financial difficulties, i.e. lawsuits, bankruptcies, or a company merger, and yet it was the employee that took the financial hit to pay for what most often was the unfortunate decision of a company’s executive.  With every layoff I have undergone throughout the years, I have taken a substantial pay cut just to get back in the workforce.  I have known what it is to work two to three part-time jobs at a time just to make ends meet until I was able to get a job in my educational and professional background.  Working odd jobs is not even an option this time around, because even part-time jobs are sparse.  I am so very tired and worn out from the day to day search for a job that is not out there. In this flooded unemployment, even in applying for a job one may be well qualified for, or for a job that one is over qualified, the result is a disappointment.  Not knowing if you will be able to pay the bills or even keep your home for another week, is a depressing, demoralizing and physical and mentally-draining experience.

On August 28, 2010, I will have completed Tier 4 of the unemployment extended 99 weeks of benefits.  I realize that 99 weeks is a ling time.  Oh do I know what a long time that is, however, in this recession, it is not necessarily long enough to land a job.  Unless the few slim leads I have for employment come my way in the next few weeks, or without congressional action in the very near future, I will have to decide whether I should continue to use up what little I have left of my 401Ks, or to sell my home of 45 years.

In your announcing of the hearing on long term unemployment you stated “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.”  That statement convinced me that you sincerely are one of the few that understand what the unemployed are going through.  You understand that unemployment insurance is critical and should be extended as long as it takes to get Americans back to work.  The cost of not extending unemployment provisions beyond recent attempts until all Americans in need, are back to work will be substantial – in the form of increased foreclosures, less money flowing through communities, and reliance on other public benefits – and will slow down the economic recovery that will bring us jobs. We need jobs that will not place us in the same situation once again, or in low paying jobs that are being offered to replace the higher paying jobs we were laid-off from; or in what ever industry that happens to be hiring at the moment.  We deserve to obtain jobs we can be proud of because we worked hard at building a career.

The fact that keeping the unemployment benefits extended until all Americans are back to work will add to the government’s budget deficit is a mute point. The cost of not providing the small amount of unemployment that I and others are getting just to keep a roof over our head and put food on the table will be substantial – in the form of increased foreclosures, less money flowing through communities, and reliance on other public benefits – and will slow down the economic recovery that will bring us jobs. Until companies stop the streamlining of their operations to incorporate automation, and cut financial corners to keep their bonuses — America will not be back at work and long-term unemployment will continuing to rise.

Relative to the vast complexity and devastation of the unemployed Americans, little media coverage has been made on the subject of long term unemployment.  Most of what has been published or broadcast has been misleading or just inaccurate.  I have attached are a few articles, statements regarding US Job Development, an e-mail and my current resume that are more accurate as to what is reality, and I believe speak for themselves.  In reading what others have documented on unemployment and job development, may help those that don’t understand to understand that it is not the lack of trying that keeps the unemployed from getting a job; and “extending unemployment benefits does not simply encourage those out of work to continue to accept government aid rather than take any job”.  However, it is all the surrounding circumstances that are beyond our control that is keeping us unemployed.  I have attended job fairs and offered to work for free for the first three months in order to prove myself.  All I got from the recruiters were blank stars.

Please be true to your word, “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”….and our lives. I do pray that all those that hold the future of all those unemployed will look at the whole economic recovery and make the right decisions that will truly help those that at this moment have little to no control of their own life’s destiny.  Please make sure that millions of struggling Americans do not face continuing joblessness coupled with an end to any benefits — the small income that has kept us afloat so far; until we can find a job that will pay the bills but will not place us in the same situation again.  Keeping our unemployment safety net is more crucial than ever.

I respectfully thank you for your time in advance.


From MG in in TX:

To Whom it may concern:

My name is MG, and I am currently unemployed.  I worked hard my whole life, but was laid off in February of 2008.  I have not been able to find another job since then.  I have relocated with my family to San Antonio, TX and have been actively looking for employment for about a year.  I have submitted several applications every week but have not received many call backs.

We are a family of 4 living on a single income.  We have young children who currently do not have health insurance because we are “over income” for a family of 4, yet we cannot afford to put them on private insurance.  We are struggling to put food on the table and pay our monthly bills.  We have maxed out the few credit cards we have just to get by from pay check to paycheck.  The time I was receiving unemployment we were getting by just fine, but since I have exhausted my benefits, we are struggling to make ends meet.

I have not given up on looking for a job, but it would be helpful if unemployment benefits could be extended.  I know there are many other families in the same or worse situation as me so I greatly appreciate you taking the time to read my story and take my unemployment extension into consideration.

Thank you,

From AS in PA:

I signed for the last of my Tier IV yesterday, today I am filled with fear of what’s next?  I lost my job of twenty three years to Mexico on July 2nd,2008. I have worked all my life and this is very hard and depressing. Some days are harder than others, but I go on.

I am 63 and no one wants me. I was very good at my job and I felt very good about myself, now I feel like my life is over. No hope of any future. I can’t see how I can keep my house and how do I rent without an income enough to pay the bills there also.

People(Americans) are living in their cars and shelters. This shouldn’t be in America. We build other countries, feed them and give them free medical services. I have no insurance. I couldn’t afford the original Cobra payments, they were almost 600.00$ a month. I applied for medical and food stamps this week. I never in my life had to resort to a handout. If a TIER V would be passed I could continue to try to find work and pay off my bills and maybe stay in my home a little longer.

Thank you for listening

From AN in RI:

I am a 58 year old single college educated woman.  I have been unemployed since November 2007 due to a re-organization in the company I had worked at for 13 years.  I was making $60,000/year and had purchased my first home 3 years previously and had a perfect credit rating.  I have been sending out hundreds of resumes since being laid-off and have had approximately 2 interviews.  I’m sure you can understand that at my age companies are very reluctant to hire me.  I have worked over 40 years and never thought I would be in the situation I now find myself in.  I have lost everything!  I have no savings, have had to use my 401k to pay my mortgage and utilities and now can’t even collect unemployment.  I have nowhere to turn.  So, my “American Dream” along with millions of others has dissipated and will never return.  We will never be able to catch up on what we have lost.

Our government’s priority was to give billions to the big businesses, banks and Wall Street and we, the American people who are desperately suffering have been abandoned.  How sad is this?  Can the politicians making these decisions even remotely understand what they have done to the millions of Americans who have lost everything?  I think not, they will never be in our situation and will never know what it is like to be without a home, food or health care.  The politicians have too much power and money and they think its fun to play their political games with our lives.  The government seems to have plenty of money to help out other countries, but when it comes to helping their own people who are suffering on a daily basis they constantly let us down.

This country has never been in a recession as we have seen in the last 2 years and even though the news media claim the economy is getting better, that is just a hoax to make the American people believe the steps that have been taken are working.  If the real numbers for unemployment were revealed, this includes the people who have fallen off unemployment and still have no jobs and the over 400,000 temporary jobs that were filled for census taken were not counted, then it would show the true disaster of our economy.

Thank you,

From LB in MA:

I did everything I could find a job for the past 17 months but was unable to find one due to my hearing-impairment and employers’ unwillingness to accommodate my disability in job interview and hiring processes. When hiring managers made their hiring decisions, they decided to pass me over for somebody who could use the phone rather than finding ways to accommodate me at work.

Employers who were hiring somebody to fill a job that does not require phone told me they were looking for somebody who had more years of work experience, worked less than two years or had arbitrary standards to screen me out of a job.  In job interviews, hiring managers were too picky to hire me because of economy and asked me difficult situations question instead of looking at my work references and hire me! I had several job interviews two weeks ago and wrote a nice thank you notes to each hiring managers; however, they did not hire me as of today.

I am a client of a vocational rehabilitation program in my state and my vocational counselor placed me in a job placement program.  I also registered with three Career Centers, went to all relevant workshops on how to be a successful job seeker, and attended support group meetings for job seekers.

Although I heard of news that economy is picking up and people are being hired, these good news did not apply to me and I am not a lazy job seeker who used unemployment checks to lay around and be lazy as some misinformed people like to believe.

Oh yeah, I heard of a Congress person (Kathy Dahlkemper, D-PA)  who tried to hire people to work for her office and did not receive much responses. I would like to say one thing. If I live in her district and find a job in her office that does not require the use of phones, I would have applied for a job, and if she is willing to accommodate me when she contacts me for job interviews and is willing to give me a chance to work for him, I would be working for her today!  If she knows of a colleague in greater Boston, MA area who is looking for the same, please tell her to send me an email for a referral.  Please make sure this person is willing to accommodate me and is willing to hire a person with disability.

Please tell employers to start hiring job seekers with disability and change some standards a little so people with disability could get a job and meet their business needs!  And please tell Senators and Congress people to approve of benefit extensions for 99ers and all unemployed people who were unemployed through no faults of their own.  We were not lazy people who failed to find a job!  We were victims of bad economy and greedy people in Wall Street!

From AN in FL:

I live in Florida…I actually am subsisting in Florida.  I was laid off from job in Dec.07 and have spent 99.9% of my life trying to get back to work since then. I am willing to take ANY job but, they are simply none available here in the Venice/Sarasota/Bradenton area.

I have heard that our unemployment rate is 13.3% but the church that I volunteer at so I can obtain free bread and canned goods believe the correct number is about 18%.  We are in serious trouble those of us 99ers.  I have been homeless 3 times in the past several years and am about to become that way again very soon.  I was also “forced” to live in a domestic violence situation because I had no money and no place else to go.  I am a 46 year old female who has lost every possession I have spent the last 25 years working for.  I am down to 2 suitcases of clothes because the storage facility auctioned off my belongings when I fell behind on my unit payment last summer when it took the state of Florida so long to process our retroactive payments.  I have no children and I kind of wished I did because I would be eligible for more government help but since I am single, over the age of 40 and have no dependants, there is simply NO help for me. I am currently out of options and out of hope.

I have put out nearly a 1000 resumes and I have received little to no response and I have a good background and an excellent resume.  And the strange thing is, I worked for the past 17 years in a very desirable field…medical insurance billing and coding.  Why there are none of these jobs available in my area has me completely baffled.

I have tried so hard to remain positive but, I am out of patience, food, options and hope.  I feel like nobody is listening to people like me.  I have always worked hard, paid taxes and voted and now it is if I do not exist in the eyes of anyone, much less my beloved government.

I would love to organize a protest but, I haven’t the money to do so.  I have signed so many petitions, called and written members of the Congress and Senate and I have even e mailed the White House directly again today…What else can I or should I do.  I wish I could tell Congress and the Senate my story directly…perhaps, they would listen to me.  I just want a job so, I can get my own small apartment again, buy a little crummy used car and buy food without having to use food stamps. More than anything, I want my dignity back.


From DP in FL:

Dear Chairman Jim McDermott and the Subcommittee on Income Security and Family Support of the Committee on Ways and Means:

I have been unemployed since June 8, 2008, and am now a “99er”*.  On that day we (the employees) discovered that the owner of the real estate title insurance company, where I had worked for 20 years, had emptied all the bank accounts (escrow included) and disappeared.  (Flagler Title Company, in West Palm Beach, FL.)  At the request of our underwriter (CTIC), the company was closed and put under receivership.  There were approximately 30 people still working there and none of us got paid for the last two weeks we had worked, as there was no money left to pay us.  Because of a selfish, greedy boss, I lost my job and now because of selfish, greedy, unscrupulous people on Wall Street, I have been unable to find another job.

I had very little in my 401K, at the time my company was closed, as the option of getting one had only been offered to us about three years earlier.  Had to use these funds to move as the house I was living in was going into foreclosure.  Thank goodness I don’t have any credit cards, but do still have student loans from the late 1990s, which I currently cannot pay.  Can’t even pay the $338.00 income tax due on my unemployment from last year (2009).  I wonder how many others can’t pay either, leaving the government with LESS income to solve the deficit problem?

I received my last unemployment insurance check (99 weeks) on April, 1, 2010, for the weeks of March 14-27, 2010, leaving me with no income at all after that.  Up until then unemployment was paying for my rent, utilities, a few groceries and a little gas for my car (my car, thank God, is paid off, but I can’t afford car insurance) and to buy stamps, envelopes, paper and ink to print resumes and mail them.  My youngest daughter lives in St. Lucie County, FL, with her fiancé and daughter, but they can’t afford to support me while I look for work and they only have a 2-bedroom place so there is no room for me.  My oldest lives in Colorado Springs with her husband.  I can’t afford to move there, let alone buy the whole new wardrobe I would need for the colder climate.  As far as that goes, they have been there since Sept. 2007 and she was just able to find a job herself a couple of weeks ago (she was not collecting unemployment).  Thank goodness her husband had a decent job before they moved there!  Now it wouldn’t make much sense for me to move from someplace where it is hard to find a job to another place where it is also hard to find a job, would it?

I have close to 40 years of clerical/secretarial experience and have applied for hundreds of jobs (gave up counting applications a long time ago) and not just clerical, but retail jobs, and even jobs I knew I didn’t have all the “qualifications” for.  Hoping that one of them would give me a chance to prove myself.  Usually don’t even get a “thank you for your interest” reply.  Sometimes I’ve wondered if they even received my application/resume. A few times I have gotten “thank you but we picked someone with more experience”.  What?  More experience – you mean you picked someone older than me?  I doubt that!

Since I am not there to see and hear what is said and done, while the prospective employer is looking through resumes/applications, I cannot swear that my age (58 next month) or the fact that I am unemployed, is the reason why I’m not getting interviews or replies.  But I am making an educated assumption that those are the reasons, as I know several of the younger people I used to work with have gotten jobs since Flagler was closed, been laid off from them and were still able to find another job.

I did get a call for a State of Florida job in a different county (Sumter), but when I called back, found out they wanted someone who could start immediately, because they had spent almost a

month going through 100+ applications for that one job.  Since I would have had to take the time to relocate, my name was taken off the interview list.  Would have been a great job if I had gotten it, but didn’t even get the chance to try!

Had one other interview at Wal-Mart but was never called back for the second interview (they say they do two, before deciding who to hire).  When I called them back, I was advised they were not doing any hiring at that time.  Those are the only two job offers I have received in almost two years.  Finally around the middle of this May, after re-applying 4-5 times, I got a call from Publix Super Markets and was hired for a part-time cashier job (no more than 20 hours a week, but 20 hours NOT guaranteed).  However, at this particular store their clientele is mostly “seasonal”.  The “season”, in Florida, ends around Mother’s Day.  So now I am lucky if I get 11-15 hours a week.  This most certainly does not pay my rent nor pay for much else.

Recently I’ve found out that employers are not even considering the unemployed for hires.  Their excuses range from:

“If they (the unemployed job applicant) were that good, they would not have been let go”, to the unbelievable “we are tired of getting too many unemployed applicants so we wish to concentrate on stealing good help away from our competitors”.

Also: “Recruitment experts say many companies believe it could take longer to get ‘passive applicants’ up to speed in professions that require constant training. They also say people who have not been laid off are believed to be the best and most valuable in the fields, reports ClickOrlando.com”.

Very shocking!  I say, “If the company is closed down, which a lot were, it doesn’t matter how “good or valuable” you were – you’re gone – along with everybody else!  Also some companies get rid of the highest paid employee’s first cause it saves them more money, and they don’t have to lay off as many of the lower income people so can keep the “production” lines going.  After all production is what makes the company money.

While receiving unemployment I was unable to get food stamps, because, according to them, I made too much money on unemployment, to qualify for food stamps.  Since I stopped receiving unemployment I was able to get an “emergency issue” of food stamps for only five months and will have to reapply for them in Sept.  However, can’t pay my rent with food stamps

I was served with a 3-day notice, by my landlord, at the end of April, prior to starting eviction proceedings because I couldn’t pay them for the last two weeks in April.  If evicted I will have to live out of my little Hyundai Accent and would have lost all my possessions because I don’t have money for a storage room.  Luckily I was able to find a program (HUD HRE) which “helps the homeless or those threatened to become homeless soon”, to help me with my rent.  However, they only do it for three months and you have to be approved for the first month then re-evaluated for the second and third months.  I have already “used up” two of the months and only have one left.  If I can’t find another job in the next couple of weeks I will still be facing eviction.  My landlords are really nice people, but they have a mortgage on this duplex and need the rent to pay that.  So I can’t blame them.  I am really scared of the possibility of having to live out of my car, because I am a female and the car windows would need to be open, at night, since it is very hot in Florida during the summer.  Don’t even know where I would be able to park my car where it would be safe, can’t afford a camp ground site!  And without a refrigerator I would not be able to purchase “perishables”, with or without food stamps!  I do have a small charcoal grill I could cook on but charcoal, coolers and ice costs money.

I don’t know about other states, but in Florida, there is very little help for you, financially or otherwise, if you don’t have dependent children living home (18 or younger or 19 if still in secondary school), you aren’t disabled or you aren’t at least 62 years old.  You can’t even get Medicaid.  So right now I don’t have health insurance. I wasn’t able to get COBRA, because the group policy, where I used to work, was canceled June 1, 2008.  You have to have an active policy in order to get COBRA.  Section 8 housing, in Martin County is full, they aren’t even taking applications right now, and the low income housing apartments they offer have a five year waiting list.

I honestly would rather be working and supporting myself, this is something that I have done since I graduated from high school and moved into my own apartment and also after I was divorced in 1985, with two children to take care of as well.  I am NOT lazy as many unknowledgeable people claim the long term unemployed are!  I would even rather be able to collect my Social Security, instead of having to depend upon unemployment!  At least that would be a “definite” income instead of a “maybe”, even though it would be a lower amount than I was getting through unemployment.  However, I can’t even consider that for a little over four more years.  This “not knowing” whether or not I’m going to have money for rent and food, or if I will be able to find a job in time to keep from being evicted is very frustrating and very stressful.

Frankly I am very disappointed and disgusted with everyone in Congress right now, I don’t give a darn what “party” you are a member of, I don’t intend to vote for any incumbent in November!   I am sick and tired of the bickering just to “show who’s the boss” and the needy of AMERICA being ignored while the needy of other countries are getting billions in hand outs, even though the money goes to their corrupt governments and will never be seen by those, in their countries, who need it the most!

Economists are telling you that you need to get people back to work and the economy “flowing” before you can even consider balancing the budget and getting rid of the deficit, since working people spend money and pay taxes, non-working people cannot.  When there are more people working and paying taxes you will have much more money to whittle away at the deficit!  They will be buying so businesses will hire more, more purchases mean more sales taxes which will help the states as well, so they don’t have to borrow from the federal government.  Sometimes you have to go into debt to “get the ball rolling” and start making profits.  Just look at Bill Gates (Microsoft),  Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak (founders of Apple) and other entrepreneurs who have made it.  They all went way into debt, spending their savings, borrowing money from others and maxing out their credit cards, before finally getting their corporations up and running, for profit.  (After all, America is a large “for profit” corporation, just like their companies are.)

Also economists, the CBO and the BLS all say that unemployment insurance payments help the

economy.  For every $1.00 of unemployment paid, anywhere from $1.63 to $1.90 is returned to the economy in the form of purchases or payments to companies. (groceries, electric, water, etc.)  So how can that possibly be bad or wrong?  The economy is getting more “bang for the buck” with unemployment payments than they are from the moneyless long term unemployed, the health care bill AND the bailouts to Wall Street! I thought that was the government’s goal, to get the economy rolling again.

All of you know, as well as I do, that there just aren’t enough available jobs for everyone who is unemployed and needs one, nor are enough “new” jobs being created fast enough to fill that void, and it is reported that it will be quite a few more years before there will be enough.  So please tell me, exactly what, the long term unemployed are supposed to do, in the meantime, to take care of themselves and their families with NO income at all until enough jobs are again available in three, four, five or more years?

Long term unemployed Americans and the American economy need a Tier V or more weeks added to Tier IV, at least through the end of the year, since the projected estimates say that things are not going to be that much better by the end of this year.

As we get nearer to the end of the year and see how things are progressing, then another decision can be made and hopefully BEFORE things get to the point where unemployment has run out again and people end up, once more, with nothing at all left to live on for months at a time and still no job prospects!

In the meantime lenders need to be pushed to loan money to businesses and individuals, to help jump start the economy, as they are not doing this now.  Instead they are lending and trading to each other, holding the profits in their coffers in order to make it look like their companies are doing better and enabling them to keep their ridiculously large salaries and bonuses.

Frankly I am very upset with, and feel cheated by, the wealthy bankers and hedge fund types who have abused the taxpayers by paying ungodly bonuses and THEN accepting billions in bailouts from the taxpayers just to use that money for still MORE ungodly bonuses and making their businesses look good, instead of making loans to individuals and businesses to help jump start the economy!

And we need JOBS!  Companies are not going to start hiring if there is no business to create profits, no matter how many tax incentives they are offered! Why should they hire someone and pay them a salary, pay into unemployment and match Social Security (even a portion of it) and whatever else companies have to pay per employee, just to have them sitting around staring at the walls, which is what the new employee would be doing with no business to create work for them to do.  Personally, I wouldn’t want a job where there is nothing to do all day but sit around feeling useless!  I prefer to work for my salary!

Production and manufacturing need to be supported and encouraged.  Companies also need to be discouraged, in some way, from sending jobs overseas.  American workers may also have to come to the realization that they will have to take less pay then they used to make, but it should still be a living wage (not minimum, which I don’t see how anybody can live on that), i.e. instead of $75,000.00 per year, they may have to take $60,000.00 or $65,000.00.  Actually I think a majority of the long term unemployed have already come to this realization!

Education also needs to be supported.  Too many teachers are being laid off and schools closed down causing severe crowding in already over crowded classes!  This situation and homelessness is seriously hurting the current generation of American children!  We need to take care of the “here and now”, so that there will be more people better able to take care of the future generations!

Human resources and prospective employers need to be re-educated about the benefits of hiring the older worker.  Older workers are more dedicated, honest, responsible, dependable, loyal, focused, organized and mature.  (You may check out this link, if you’d like to see the 12 benefits of hiring older workers:  http://www.entrepreneur.com/humanresources/hiring/article167500.html).

But most of all, the long term unemployed, who have none or only partial income,  need to be helped and NOW, until more jobs come back.  They have nothing left, even their hope is disappearing.

For myself and all the other long term unemployed in America (99ers*), I pray that you do something quickly to help us until we can find new jobs.  Thank you.


*“99er” – a person who has reached the end of whatever Tier of federal unemployment was offered in their state and no longer have any unemployment to claim and have still been unable to find a job.  Most now have no income whatsoever.  Some have been able to find part-time or piecemeal work, that does not pay their bills.  Many are now living in tents, in their cars or on the street searching in dumpsters and garbage cans for food.

From PL in TX:

To Congress:

My position was eliminated in September of 2008.  I have worked since I was 15 years old, paid for my own college education, got a full time job immediately upon graduation even though the pay was only $12,000 a year.  That was 33 years ago.  Through hard work and persistence I was able to move forward with a successful career that allowed me to buy a home, pay taxes, get married and have 3 children.

I am not extravagant in my spending, nor have I ever been.  I do not own a home or a car any longer.  I now live day to day looking for jobs that do not exist.  In the past 22 month I have applied for over 505 jobs from something in my field to grocery clerk.  My former associates are working longer hours and scared to death they will lose their own positions.  These are good people that work for fortune 500 companies that do not care about quality, they care about Wall Street and their golden parachutes, just like Congress.

Companies have flown me to Tampa, Houston, Phoenix, San Diego, Minneapolis, Memphis, yet the positions remain unfilled.   Two weeks ago I had a telephone interview where the HR recruiter actually told me that while they were interviewing, they were not hiring as they were in a hiring freeze.  It is common knowledge that the majority of jobs advertised are only there because the company will lose the requisition if they don’t leave it open, but they have no intention of filling these positions.  Lest you believe that I am above working for Target,  Lowe’s, Safeway, etc…check your attitude, I’ve applied at all of them.

Through my heavy networking, I have also discovered that employers now do not want to hire the long term unemployed.  They are hiring current workers who have big rolodexes, if they can persuade them to leave there current employer.  So now, the long term unemployed are labeled as undesirable.  Congress has abandoned us as well.

I have2 weeks of unemployment left, which was never enough to cover rent and utilities and I am 2 months from being homeless.  I am maintaining a positive attitude and persevering despite the fact that Congress and Nancy Pelosi have turned their backs on those of us who need help the most.  I have LIVED physcal responsibility all my life, not just recently.  Taxpayer’s money was spent on ramming healthcare reform through and now approved $150mm on trying to sell it to us again, money is being sent overseas to help foreign governments,  $60 billion being sent to fund the military.  I am too old for the military to even consider me.  There is no such thing as a “jobless recovery”.  We are not in recovery, and it will only get worse for those of us that have paid taxes for years and are now left to twist in the wind.  Please explain to my children why they will have no place to sleep and nothing to eat.  We don’t need a war on US soil, Congress has instigated warzone, all the while making sure that they get a raise every year.

From CM in CA:

I have been unemployed since June 26, 2008.  I am 61 years old with 31 years of working at the same company before I was let go.  I was terminated involuntarily after returning to work from three days in the hospital (TIA as a result of working conditions) and two weeks on disability.  Three days after I returned to work, I received a phone call from my manager who lived in Cedar Rapids, Iowa saying I was terminated.  On the day I was to return to work from a vacation day, I was admitted to the hospital.  I had requested a vacation and had received an e-mail telling that I would be the only person packing books, binders and files for a departmental move to another floor and I complained.  After all this time I still I am still in shock and wondering why I was terminated because I never got a satisfactory answer from management or Human Resources.  The Human Resource Manager in Los Angeles mysteriously took early retirement about three months later and the firing manager was demoted out of management four months after I left.

The stress from thinking about not having the answers to why I lost my job, hoping I don’t end up back in the hospital (blood pressure being high because since going to hospital I’m on blood pressure medication), thinking about having money to pay the basic necessities of life, being unemployed for this long and not being able to find a job keeps me up all night.  During this time of not sleeping, I am on the computer checking my messages with the different job sites that I have registered, posted and sent my resume to and checking the unemployment job site that I had to register on (caljobs.ca.gov).  I have seen the sun rise a lot lately.  It’s not healthy but what can you do when you have so much on your mind.  And when I do get to sleep I wake up every two to three hours.

I started out in 1977 in the Word Processing Department and after two years promoted to an Executive Secretary with having working knowledge of word processing skills.  I was also a senior transcriber (dictation from cassette) and with the title change in corporate America became an Administrative Assistant.  In those days on the job training was the best training you could get from the older or more experienced workers in that particular department.  In my recent experience in looking for employment today in the workforce seems like you don’t need older workers with knowledge but younger workers with BA degrees or you have to be bi-lingual which I have neither.  These jobs are not technical jobs but the same jobs I did when I started as Executive Secretary in Actuarial, Information Technology, Auditing and Contract Development.  I didn’t need a Bachelors Degree or speak another language except English (which was a must) but with working knowledge of the administrative skills and the opportunity, I was able to work in each of these different areas of one company.

On August 18, 2008 I attended the EDD Initial Assistance Workshop (IAW) which was supposed to provide me with reemployment services information.  The service was supposed to help me plan my job search and shorten my time I remained out of work.  Through this workshop I ended up attending Inglewood Community Adult School (WIA Program) for math skill building starting on September 29, 2008 to November 20, 2008.  My math skills were a little low after being tested and if I wanted to attend school through the WIA program and pass any entrance exam test I would have to upgrade my math skills.

At South Bay One Stop Business & Resource Center on September 2, 2008 I inquired about the SER’s Senior Community Service Program (SER-JOBS FOR PROGRESS NATIONAL, INC), funded by the U.S. Department of labor on June 2, 2008.  They focused on the needs of mature workers 55 years or more for unsubsidized jobs in the private sector through training in community based organizations.  I met the age qualifications, the income qualifications and the resident of the county qualification but was told that I was overqualified according to my resume.  They told me to leave my resume in case other opportunities came but have heard nothing.

I took advantage of the Workforce Incentive Act (WIA) training program being offered at the Resource Center and went to school for Medical Record Coder.  It was a nine month course including a two week internship that ended up lasting a year (January 26, 2009 to January 31, 2010).  During this time I used all my UI benefits and extensions.  I was not advised upon signing up for this training program that it would be taking away from my regular UI benefits.  My benefits were stopped and started four different times for a month at a time for phone interviews to verify going to school even though you could only go to an approved government WIA training programs.  Now that I have finished the training and completed two weeks of internship, I found out that no one will hire you unless you have two years of prior experience and a certification (CCA or CCS) that cost around $350.00 to even be considered for a job in that field.  Money for school is advertised all over the media, e-mails and advertisements to change your career into a new growing profession which was supposed to be the Health jobs.  But with no prior experience I can’t apply for those jobs and I have wasted a year and half of UI benefits which includes the Workshop that I had to attend that led to the WIA training.  After finding out about not being able to be considered for hire as a medical record coder, I started applying for jobs at my old profession as Administrative Assistant.  I had one phone interview in response to an Admin job but never heard back from them.

I would have been out on the streets by now with my car repossed and wouldn’t be able to get to a job if it wasn’t for the 4th Tier.  The 4th Tier has saved my life thus far and a 5th Tier would help keep me from going from unemployed to homeless.  When I signed up to go to school I didn’t know I would be using up all my UI benefits.  I am able, qualified and willing to work now.  If jobs are coming back like they say they are, then why not have Tier 5 to give people the opportunity to continue to look for work.  I have been crying, praying and sending out resumes.  I don’t sleep at night and when I do I wake up every two hours worrying about my situation that I was put in through no fault of my own.  I am living on the bare necessities of life and soon I won’t be able to afford them.


From SE in CA:

Dear Senator McDermott,

This is my first time ever writing to a Senator, but I feel that is very important that you and other politicians really need to hear the voice of the people.  I am a 43 year old single mother of three children, and have worked since the age of 16.  I worked as an Administrative Assistant and was laid off in December 2008, due to lack of funding and budget cuts.  I have DELIGENTLY looked for employment, and although I have had several interviews nothing has prevailed for me. I am willing to work for less money, as a matter of fact most of the jobs I have applied to are paying less.

I have moved into a less expensive house, and have had to cut back in every possible way imaginable.  I have just received my last unemployment check, and do not know what I am going to do, where I am going to live, or how I am going to be able to provide for my three children, at no fault of my own. I exhausted my 401k before even applying for unemployment hoping that I would be able to find a job.   I wrote Congressman Buck McKeon, and explained to him the importance of extending unemployment benefits beyond 99 weeks, he wrote me back and basically told me there are jobs and get one!

I have been reading several articles stating that both Republicans and Democrats seem to believe that 99 weeks is long enough to be unemployed, but there are no jobs created  for the millions of Americans who are unemployed and still out of work.  I don’t understand how you can take a recess or a vacation and not make sure the Americans that are unemployed will be able to receive a check to provide basic necessities for their family.  I  have read many horror stories about Americans who have exhausted all benefits and do not have any source of income.  They have medications that they cannot purchase, and no way of going to their doctor’s appointment due to not having money for transportation.  What about the Americans who are 50 or older that are having trouble getting employment because employers are able to hire college graduates or younger people and pay them less?

Americans that have worked like myself for 20, 30 or 40 plus years and at no fault of their own they lost their jobs.  Our elected officials  tell them that after working all of those years 99 weeks of unemployment is enough. How dare them, and shame on them!  I really hope and pray that you make a stand for the American people by extending unemployment not just for 99 weeks, but until Congress can create the jobs that were taken from us. Please consider adding Tier V, and thank you for your time.


From LS from MN:

Title of Hearing:  Hearing on Responding to Long-Term Unemployment

This is my story being unemployed for the past two years.  I have always been an independent woman working since the age of 16 being responsible and raising a son on my own who will be 19 years old coming up in August 2010.

I was let go from my company on May 27, 2008 and still no job in sight.  I no longer have been eligible for any unemployment benefits since February 16, 2010.  I have had no income since that time.  It is June 11, 2010 now and still no job insight and no income.  The last 4 months depleted my savings because of zero income.  Being unemployed has created a tremendous hardship financially and emotionally.

I no longer was able to make my house payment of approximately $500/month.  I have had the mortgage for 17 years with never a late payment.  Doesn’t sound like much, but when you run totally out of money you cannot even pay the smallest payment.  This is the first time I have been harassed by my mortgage company and it isn’t any fun when you tell them over and over again that you are unable to make the payment.  Your self-esteem is shot down while bills keep piling up.

I have searched for a job extensively.  In the interview process, being an administrative assistant, they first call to give you a telephone interview, if you pass that, you receive a first physical interview, if you pass that, you receive a second physical interview and then you wait to see if you landed the job, while consistently applying for new open job postings.  I have been told they receive 200 – 400 or more resumes for each single job that has been posted.  I have tried for many jobs outside of my field as well, but because I have had no experience in that particular area I was not considered as they had more than enough candidates who have experience looking for a job.

I am an older woman who lost her job at the age of 49 and I am now 51.  I have applied for at least a minimum of 3000 jobs in two years time.  I feel fortunate to have received interviews, but it doesn’t change the fact that I haven’t been given a job offer.

So, not only being reduced to poverty, this situation has caused me to develop high stress and anxiety wondering whether I will ever land a job.  Also, you really find out who your friends are as so many people abandon you because you are not successful and refuse to believe that you haven’t been able to get hired.  People that are not in the situation have no idea or concept as to how bad it is to land a job in today’s economic situation.

Being from Minnesota, Minnesota did not qualify for Tier IV either.  I am no longer in the count for unemployment statistics either.  So, the answer to the question, should there be a Tier V for all long-term unemployment individuals.  The answer is definitely “YES”.

From RT in RI:

To Whom It May Concern,

I am writing to tell you how the people of this country are struggling this is my story.  I am one of the 99ers that unemployment has ended for.  I have 5 kids one of them is an adult child.  The next one is due to graduate this year from high school.  Not only can I not afford to send them to college.  I am facing eviction soon since I cannot pay my rent since unemployment has ended for me.

I have always worked and never been on unemployment at 41 this was a first for me.  I have a college education and many skills to bring to a company.  I still have been unable to find a job.  When I went on unemployment I had to move my family into a small apartment where we could pay rent since the rent for my other home was too high to afford.  I have spent money and time everyday looking for employment including but not limited to working for Mcdonalds or Burger King.  Having an older woman is not their ideal employee.

Age seems to be working against me when they can hire the younger people for a lower rate.  I have not been picky about applying for jobs that are much lower paying than what I had and yet still have not found employment.  I have never in my life experienced not being able to find a position to be able to support my family or even myself.  I paid into unemployment for years without ever using it and now when I need it most I am unable to get the help I need.

We will be homeless soon since I don’t have the money to pay for the rent on my home which is as cheap as I can get.  My  phone will be turned off soon since I cannot afford to pay that either which means finding a job will be even harder.  Help my family before we loose it all.  A homeless shelter is not someplace I want to bring my children but we will be in one if there is even room before July.

I am greatful to see that the job openings have gone from 1 column to at least a page of openings now it is a sign that things are changing.  But, just because I happened to be one of the people who was unemployed first doesn’t mean I will be the one to get hired first.  WE NEED HELP.  Personally we spend more money on helping other countries that we do for our own.  I think we need to help our own before we don’t have the capabilities to even help ourselves.  Please look at the real stories we are hurting and broke and have gone without even on unemployment.  We would have been on it if there was jobs out there to work for.  Ask us to donate out time while we are on it work for the government while we on it create something productive from this.  But help us none the less.

From TF in MN:

My company Ferrania Technologies closed up shop in February, 2008. I applied for unemployment in March, 2008 in the dislocated worker program. No big deal worked 19 years at Control Data/Ceridian/General Dynamics aerospace divisions from 1980 to 1999. In/out of manufacturing jobs from 1999, located a job shortly after 9/11, found jobs, applied, interviewed with a hundred people and was hired. No problem! College degree, 25 plus years in manufacturing, college & a strong interviewer!!

Then the nightmare’s began lost my job, foreclosed my house, our losing tanning business closed up in February, 2010. Sent resumes out weekly, hundreds, for any type of job from minimum wage on up. Few phone interview’s, even fewer interviews Why?? No jobs, poor economy, now aged to 56, under qualified for few new manufacturing jobs requiring Apics certificate orCPIM. Living on food stamps, wife’s reduced weekly hours & from $60,000 yearly to $920 per month before taxs!!!!


From CM in PA:

Please provide the long term unemployed who have exhausted their benefits additional weeks or a Tier V.  We are in dire need.

I will turn 57 years old this month. I am in that most vulnerable group of unemployed who are “too young to retire, too old to hire.”  Many of us have had to use any retirement savings to make ends meet and we will never be able to recover financially from long unemployment – that is if we are able to at least keep what we haven’t get lost.  I have not had any income since March when I exhausted my benefits in PA.  My unemployment was the only income that I had and with that help I was able to pay my bills – it was a lifeline.  Since March, I missed two loan (home mortgage) payments and this month will be the third.   I have no other means of income, no job prospects and am a single woman, 56 yrs old and no one to go to for help.

July 1999, I moved back to my childhood home in PA from NYC where I had been living and working.  Just after my dad passed away in November 1997, my mom had two serious falls, one she fractured her wrist & had to have surgery and was in a cast for several months and the second she suffered compressed fractures of the spine & again was hospitalized and in a back brace.  I moved home because it was getting more and more difficult for her to manage alone.  Although she suffers from osteoarthritis her mind is sharp and I did not want to see her living in a nursing home where I believe the quality of the last years of her life would be diminished. With no wealth and a fixed income, the option of me moving home was the best. I was able to find a good job relatively easily and was employed full time with benefits beginning September of 1999.  For 5 and ½ years I commuted 90 mi RT to Pittsburgh. I was able to make contributions to a 401K and buy a used car.  I was employed as a Departmental Administrative Assistant for a high technology firm in a Research Facility supporting PhDs from all over the world.  During my time with this company, my mother continued to have falls, broke a hip, broke her pelvis, had several surgeries and was diagnosed with Hodgkins Disease and underwent Chemotherapy.  We have no immediate family so the burden falls upon me.  I spent 15 hrs a week commuting, working a full time job, taking care of the home (inside and out), cooking, shopping etc. and was my mother’s caretaker.  I mention this to show that I am a responsible, hard working person and not a bum like some would like to paint the unemployed to be.  When the position ended there was no extended unemployment, just the regular 6 months UI benefits and the recession had started kicking in.  I was not able to find work for 14 months.  I send hundreds of resumes and applied for as many jobs, I was signed up with every temporary employment agency in the area and made it a full time job to look for employment in and out of PA.   I had good references and excellent skills and experience yet I received no offers of work not even for a week temp job!  I couldn’t even get part time work doing anything. All of the interviews that I went on I was either overqualified for or was interviewed by someone who was at least 15 years younger than myself – as were most of the employees.  I finally secured a temporary administrative assistant position with a major employer in the area at one of their locations to replace someone on sick leave.  I was there for about 5 weeks & luckily during that time I found a permanent job in Pittsburgh beginning July 6.  I was the Education Coordinator for the firm and I enjoyed the job very much. I worked at this position for 1 ½ years. The company was sold and my position was eliminated.  I have not had any luck finding a job since. I believe that in addition to the economic downturn, I have experience a great deal of ageism.  I have send hundreds of resumes, applied to hundreds of companies as well as being registered with temp agencies. I have not been able to find work or earn any income.

During my first long unemployment I had to cash in my 401K to make ends meet (remember I had not unemployment benefits after 6 months).  Over the past 2 years, I have had periods of no income and have had no work or income since March 2010.  I managed to keep a good credit rating but now that is not the case having missed 2 home loan payments with another coming due in 14 days.  My mother and I are living off of her fixed income which consists of Social Security and a very small pension that my dad provided of under $300/month.  We were not able to pay our spring property taxes.  I have no health insurance and my car is 10 years old (I bought it second hand) and over 128,000 miles.  I need new brakes and tires for the next inspection.  My mother is house bound now and severely crippled by arthritis. She also had a heart attack the summer of 2008 and at 90 years old, she is very frail and fragile but still has a good mind. I will not put her in a nursing home while she is so lucid especially since we have no money we wouldn’t have much input on a facility.  As I mentioned, I maintain the home, inside and out, do all cooking, shopping, etc.  Living 45 miles SE of Pittsburgh, the commute to the city is long and expensive and many employers use this as a reason for not hiring me. In addition to where I live (once a prosperous manufacturing and steel town now depressed and a shadow of its former self) I have several strikes against me – age and long period of unemployment.  I also have no health insurance and that is scary.  My dad died of colon cancer and I am unable to afford a colonoscopy.  In a way, it doesn’t matter because without health insurance I couldn’t afford treatment anyway.

My hope is that my mother can live out most of her natural life in the home she lived in since 1953 when I was 2 months old.  She is surrounded by her things, her cats and a quiet environment and feels safe and secure here.  She would not do well in a nursing home environment as she is a very private and solitary sole.  In the beginning I did apply for jobs in other states thinking I could somehow manage commuting on weekends. That is now out of the question for many reasons and besides, I don’t have the resources to relocate and keep mom at home.  I have researched work at home jobs but haven’t been able to find anything that matches my skills & their needs.  I have applied to all the employers including colleges in the area but being a small town, I believe it’s who you know that gets you a job and beside there is little to no opportunity here.  I am beyond hopeless and discouraged and now totally stressed and depressed.  I don’t know what will happen when I default on the home loan – I guess I will lose the equity in my home – the only thing I have left.  I don’t know what I will do when my car finally dies as I live in an area that is car dependent. We have no family to go to for help.  It’s just the two of us.

My parents both lived during the Great Depression.  Actually my mom’s family lived next door to the late Congressman John Murtha’s family and they became friends.  My dad was one of 11 children and one of the older boys born to Italian immigrants. He was one of the first in our town to enlist during World War II.  He served for 5 years and came back and worked at a local manufacturing plant, Latrobe Die Casting. until he retired. During the time my dad was in the service, his father died. He didn’t marry immediately so when he returned from the war, he immediately went to work and his salary went to provide for his mother & younger siblings.

My mother went to work when I was in second grade so I could attend a private school and get a good education. She worked for a local dentist.  So as you see, I came from a family who knew hard times and the value of work.  I get so offended when people refer to the unemployed as lazy.  I physically outwork every woman I know and am a jack of all trades.  I do it all except electrical.

I need help to get by until the job situation improves.  I realize that the odds of me finding a job this year remain bleak.  I will never be able to recover from the hole I am in but at least while receiving unemployment I was able to pay my bills and some of the stress was eliminated.  I dare not think too much about the dire straits I am in.  I am a victim and there isn’t much I can do to change my circumstance. My future is bleak.  I have written so many letters to my Senators, other Congressional members, the President, media and advocated for unemployment through social media. I am burnt out from all of this which basically amounts to a lot of wasted time and energy. It is emotionally draining and to not have a voice is beyond frustrating. I can sometimes feel the stress hormones raging through my body and I know my health is suffering.  I can’t afford to visit my dentist or eye doctor for regular check-ups.  Everything gets compiled, late fees are incurred, health deteriorates, etc.  Why my government chooses to ignore me and others who are in dire need of help is beyond reason, it is morally wrong.  We are made to beg for help yet two wars were financed with my tax money.  The vast sums of money spend on defense and the wars, support for other countries, tax cuts to the wealthy and money paid to subcontractors in Iraq, and wasteful spending yet Congress bickers about helping their own people who are jobless through no fault of their own?  Actually, some of the fault is with the same folks opposed to benefits for the unemployed are the same ones who supported the last administrations failed policies that put us here. It is reprehensible. It’s our country too yet we seem to have little impact on anything anymore.  Congress doesn’t listen to us.  They live in a bubble that is Washington and there is too much influence from special interests and too many decisions made to get reelected.  The word hardship only applies to others as most will never know the concept. This is wrong.  You take care of your own first!  How can this country ever recover if people aren’t working and contributing?  Now isn’t the time to be overly concerned with deficit. Now is the time to get people back to work & in the meantime help those who through no fault of their own are jobless.  Don’t let us slide into poverty.  I am sure there are some deadbeats but I believe you won’t find that among those of us who are over 50.  At the very least, I think Congress needs to take a look at that segment of the long term unemployed.  We are a group within a group.  The younger workers will survive and have plenty of time to recoup but not the over 50 worker.  And people like me who are single – can you imagine? And take into account many of us are caregivers for our elderly parents.  It would cost the gov’t a lot more if I put my mom in a nursing home.  Too much time has passed with nothing being done to alleviate the pain of being unemployed, too little has been done to create jobs, and it is wrong to be ignored and tossed aside by our lawmakers.  Why Congress seems to think this is not a priority is beyond rational thinking.  Seed money for start-ups can go a long way in creating jobs.  Getting people back to work and until there are plans in motion, we need help. I have never asked anyone for help and I find myself pleading with Congress now. The older worker needs some protections. As it is now, we have nothing. Even job retraining is sort of a moot point for many of us because we are highly skilled experienced workers.  Where are the tax cuts to hire the older unemployed worker?  Many employers don’t even want the unemployed to apply.  And this is a big country and we all can’t live in the same place so telling people to relocate is kind of irrational as well.  What are we supposed to do if we own a home and can’t sell it?  Where do we get the money to move? What do we do with our elderly parents if we are caretakers? And what guarantees do we have is we would relocate? We could be out of a job in 6 months and then what?

If Congress doesn’t act soon to add additional time or another Tier for those who have exhausted all benefits, many of us will be done for good.   I am positive there are ways to fund this extension.  Not one penny should be spent on any programs until we get help that we need in the form of additional unemployment benefits. Where is the unemployment money the IRS mismanaged and put into general funds?  Why aren’t the responsible for paying us back?  And to the Republicans who are screaming about the deficit, I am repulsed. Many voted to fund two wars that are costing our country a fortune.  How dare they be so arrogant! And to those in Congress who voted for tax cuts for the wealthy – you owe the jobless an apology for your failed policies and that of the last administration that led to this mess.

Any benefits the unemployed receive are used immediately and grow the economy.  We use it to pay for goods and services. Every economist agrees that unemployment is a form of economic stimulus.  It is mere greed and misguided thinking to deny us help citing deficit reduction.

I also would like to add that you need to do the right thing and do it fast.  We need jobs, we need tax incentives for hiring the unemployed over 50, tax cuts for the wealthy need to end now and special incentives must be put into place to hire the unemployed! We spend an ungodly amount on defense in this country to protect the citizens yet you fail to protect the citizens by not helping the unemployed. We can’t have a country of have and have not’s – it will cease to be America.  Furthermore, there will be more jobs lost due to the lost of unemployment benefits. By not putting those funds back into the economy, the local grocery store and other service providers will earn less and more jobs lost. The countries will lose our property taxes and state’s social programs will be stressed as well.  It doesn’t make any sense to use the unemployed as a pawn.  We need help now.

Thank you for much for your consideration.


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.



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