Witness Wednesdays: Voices of the Unemployed -- Story Archive
From Ledyard, Connecticut:
We have a 7-year-old son walking around in sneakers with holes in them, and we stay in the house all the time since we have no money to even have a pizza night once a week. I look for jobs at least 4-5 hours a day, including weekends, until I feel like screaming or crying. My husband is on travel to pay our bills; I asked my son what we should get at the grocery store and he took the list and wrote, "MY DAD!!!" This job market and lack of support is tearing families apart.
From La Center, Washington:
I have been unemployed for over a year after being laid off by my job in education. In this year, I have lost my car to repossession; have been forced to file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy; and my mortgage is in a moratorium with past-due payments, penalties, and interest accruing that will need to be refinanced once I find work (yet I will most likely will not be able to qualify for re-fi or handle larger payment). I have had utilities shut off numerous times, I have sold most everything I own through Craigslist and garage sales, I owe over $2,000 to friends and family, I have had to apply for Food Stamps after having gone from 146 lbs. (while working) to a mere 109 lbs. I am ashamed and have withdrawn from social contact and, though I cannot even afford a doctor visit co-pay, would venture to say I am clinically depressed and have been having panic attacks. No one would ever choose to be part of the long-term unemployed, and it cuts like a knife to hear elected officials insinuate we are simply lazy or unskilled; nothing is further from the truth. I am at the end of my rope. Emergency Unemployment Compensation program WAS my only lifeline!
From Phoenix, Arizona:
It's been a tough year so far for my beautiful wife and one-year-old daughter, whom we charish very much. Life was very wonderful with a job that I worked seven years for. Then it happened – unemployment – so our lives went from great to a huge change. Can someone tell me why I worked since I was 16 (30 now) and now cannot get benefits? I paid taxes, worked hard just like most average Americans, and when we need the government the most, they turn their backs. I just hope the future of this great nation does not step on the middle class because let's face it: this country was built strong and tough by this so-called middle class. So for my daughter's sake, let's give help to the people who need it – our brothers and sisters and our fellow neighbors.
I am soon going to be homeless, at 53 years old, with no family to help. I am a person who has IT skills that are suddenly out of date, because they are all mainframe related, and the times I have been between projects and receiving unemployment (twice in my life), the states I lived in did not allow you to go to school even at night to upgrade your skills (IL, WI). Aside from the two times in my life I had unemployment, I made high income (but was a single parent with no help from the father, LONG before states started taking all the action they now take to find the father and force child support payments) and paid high taxes.
From McAllen, Texas:
It has been very hard since losing my job. Financially, I have no income. I am down to my last dime. Please pass this bill.
From Castle Rock, Colorado:
All of my reserves are gone and I cannot support my daughter as a single parent. I am a veteran and have worked all my life until getting laid off over a year ago. Like many others, I am older, 49, have a master's degree and many years of excellent experience, but no one will hire me for the obvious reason of discrimination in the form of "too old and expensive to hire," even though I would work for whatever someone was willing to pay. I have been told by interviewers on multiple occasions that I have an impressive resume and skill set, but I've yet to receive an offer. I have yet to get a response from any of the part-time, lower-wage jobs, so I am not sure what I can do to change this situation. It appears I am not alone. I am not paying any bills and holding on to what cash I have remaining so that I can pay rent for April, but that is it for me; after that, my daughter and I will be living in a homeless shelter. Unbelievable.
From Louisville, Kentucky:
Even though my benefits have not terminated yet, I am sick with dread. I am an older lady and have been applying for jobs; there have been no offers of employment, and I am not hopeful that the next two months will be better. I am not a deadbeat and have not drawn unemployment forever; I have, however, worked for 37 years. My job was eliminated. I am astounded that senators and congressmen are so cold-hearted. Most folks are like me or are worse off, like my brother-in-law, who is going to court to be evicted in three weeks. He also has not drawn unemployment for the imaginary 99 weeks, just 26. His unemployment was cut in January. There are real constituents who are hurting and children who are hurting because of game-playing politicians who are paid well for doing nothing to help people in dire circumstances.
From Brockton, Massachusetts:
We do not have money to purchase home heating oil and we have been wearing winter coats in the house and leaving the gas stove running and open all night long. We have two electric heaters, but they also eat up a lot of electricity, making our electric bill an additional $200 to $300 per month. And YES, we applied for the LIHEAP oil program in November 2013, but because I was receiving weekly unemployment benefits, we had too much household income to qualify for free oil – so I returned to the LIHEAP offices in January and I was told that there are no longer any funds left for low-income oil distribution – that we should have applied earlier! Then, the other day, my car was repossessed, so even if I could find a job, I could not get to it because I have no transportation. I have 21 days to pay for the missed payments and retrieve the car – but if Congress doesn't get off their butts and help us, then I will lose my car forever.
From Carbondale, Illinois:
Well, I am now forced to live with a friend. I have a two-year-old little girl for whom I can't provide, and it's driving me to the point of depression. I've lost my house; I have nothing. I fill out applications all day long and nothing. Well, now my phone is off so I can't get any phone calls about jobs. When and if I do get one, I wont have gas to get to my interview.
From Washington, Pennsylvania:
I am being evicted from my apartment. I don't have enough money for anything! I have been trying to find housing, but it's hard when you have no money!
From Las Vegas, Nevada:
I have worked since I was 14 years old, and I am currently 29 years old and a single mother who lost my job through no fault of my own. I was with the same company since I was 20 years old and worked my way up with hard work and dedication. I left that company managing 17 employees, who were directly under me. Since my benefits have expired, I have had to walk away from my apartment and all of my son's and my belongings. We have nothing that I worked so hard for for many years. We now live with my elderly grandmother in her small condo; my son and I sleep on an air mattress in the front room. I look for work every day, even though I have no money to get around. I have to borrow $20 here and there just to get my son to school. There have been times when I didn't even know how my son and I would eat at night. I signed him up for an after-school program just to ensure he gets three meals a day. I am a hard-working American; who wants to work and earn money, but I haven't been able to find work. Without these benefits, my son and I have lost everything, and I'm afraid there's worse to come if EUC benefits are not extended soon.
From Poughkeepsie, New York:
I have applied to close to 1,000 job postings since I've lost my job. I have had few call backs and I've been on few interviews. Most tell me I am overqualified or I don't hear back at all. I'm 30 yrs old, a veteran, and I cannot believe that after serving my country and fighting in the combat zone that I am being forgotten by my government that I defended as a younger man. I have since become homeless and lost everything in the past two months since my benefits expired. This is happening to me, and I've only been unemployed for eight months. I feel for those who were [unemployed] longer and just lost those benefits. Ironically, my 26 weeks of unemployment expired right on the week of Dec. 26, 2013. I don't know if anyone else falls into my category, but I didn't even get a chance to get emergency unemployment benefits. Too fast for me to lose everything. 26 weeks in this economy is not enough time.
From Franklin, Ohio:
I have had to use my savings over the past year to keep afloat. Over the last three months, I have had to take a loan out on my Long-Term Life Plan at 8% interest just to meet my bills and only had enough to pay through the end of February. My phone, insurance, rent, and bills are not paid this month, and I do not know what to do. The long-term life policy that I had been taking loans out of will not be paid this month after paying into it for 20 years and will be lost.
From Miami Gardens, Florida:
It's incredible: I have worked since I was 16, never asking for anything, and now that I need to be able to pay for my home and be able to eat, I find myself without help and it seems that no one cares. I owe two months on my home; I have nowhere to go and no one to ask for help except my government, and and all I am asking for is what is rightfully mine. Please just HELP.
From Overland Park, Kansas:
I am unable to buy new glasses; my prescription changed and I can't see clearly. I haven't been to the dentist in over a year and have a toothache. I'm not able to visit my grandchildren because I am afraid to use my gas. I won't be able to renew my license plates that are due to expire this March. I didn't renew my membership to the YMCA, so now I can't exercise in the winter. I cancelled my cable TV and never eat in a restaurant. I haven't had a haircut in six months.
From South Grafton, MA:
My wife, my two daughters, and I were living, barely, off unemployment. I was a postal worker for years and lost my position in April. It's been almost 2 1/2 months now since I've received any income. We have sold off everything of value just to stay afloat, and my car insurance got cut off. I find it near impossible to now look for work since I live at least a 15-minute drive to the closest areas of business. If you don't think of me during this debate, please think of my children. My wife and I have been trying so hard to not break down in front of them and cry and have been trying so hard to keep this family together. We are both at our wits' end, and our families have helped, but they are out of extra financials. Please help with saving my family, along with the other 2,000,000+ who are feeling like me.
From Milwaukee, Wisconsin:
I have sold everything and had to move to Arizona to live with my 73-year-old dad or become homeless. I am 54 and I have always worked. I have been applying for at least 30 to 40 jobs a day. As you know, everything is online now. I have 20 years management experience. I have excellent business acumen. I have applied for everything you can imagine. I want a job. I need a job. I would rather work than collect unemployment. It is hard to believe I paid in all these years and now I need unemployment and it's cut off. I have read countless stories that are the same. Sad. Shame on our politicians.
From Tallapoosa, Georgia:
I am 54 years old and have worked all my life. I graduated from a local technical college last May in hopes of better employment. I have worked several temp jobs, but that is short-term at best. I have no weekly income, and my wife works as a parapro in a local school system and makes very little every month. We have a disabled son who has recently had medical expenses that his Medicaid does not cover. We went into debt for over $4,000 dollars for this. Our home needs repairs, we struggle to pay our bills, and what money we had tried to save is gone. I job-search every day and have had interviews, but keeping getting met with disappointment. I just need help to pay my bills each week until I can gain employment.
From Windsor, Colorado:
I've always worked, since the age of 15. I am now 46 and have never had a problem finding a job. I was terminated due to no fault of my own and have been struggling since. I have sold almost all the possessions I own. I recently just sold my vehicle for half its worth just to make ends meet. Thank God for my sister and brother-in-law; I at least have a place to live. I live in [my sister's] basement, and at least I have Medicaid for now. I have several injuries from a car accident and lost my insurance along with my job. I know there are worse-off people than myself, and I pray that they can all get help.
From Philadelphia, Pennsylvania:
My gas and electric is scheduled for shut off on 04/01/2014. There are eight people in my household with $2,046 net income, and $1,300 out of that goes to rent. We were denied for Food Stamps because all of our children are under age of 22. My family will not survive another month. I am applying daily on Monster and CareerBuilder but with no results.
From Racine, Wisconsin:
I'm a struggling single mother of two wonderful children. I lost my home already due to divorce three years ago. Now because of the unemployment issue, I am going to lose my apartment in April, also. I have one son in college, and my daughter is to start college in September. I will not be able to help her accomplish this because I can't even afford the $200 needed to reserve her dorm room. It is a shame that my children have to suffer because I am unable to find work! I am already keeping the heat off 75 percent of the time, I have had phone shut off, and I am going to be homeless soon. I have reached the point where all I do is cry. I don't know what to do or where to go anymore.
From Tustin, California:
I have worked all my life and never been late on payments, and I paid taxes just like most people of the middle class. I did have a cushion in savings, own a home, etc. I am facing a loss of a good credit rating, which employers use now in hiring, foreclosure on my home, and repossession of my car, which I need for any employment. This is happening to many people, especially older workers. I have given up trying to be responsible and not default on any obligations.
From Glen Burnie, Maryland:
I was one of more than 500 people who went to work [one day] at 8 a.m. and was laid off at 3 p.m., with no warning at all. Since then, I have searched, applied, and interviewed, to be told I am overqualified because I have my Bachelor's degree with 15 years experience and they are looking for someone with a maximum of six months experience. My UI benefits stopped in February, and since then, I have had to rely on SNAP to put food on my table for my family, and I am selling whatever it is that I own just to pay my mortgage and utilities.
From Austin, Texas:
When my position was eliminated by the new executive director [at my organization], I thought that getting a new job would be easy. However, I am now 48 years old, and in a city like Austin, there is a vibrant pool of younger, more technologically savvy employees with whom I compete in the job market. I have been unemployed for almost six months now, and I have only had five phone interviews and one face-to-face interview with a truly desirable employer offering a desirable job. On the flip side, I have had three interviews for low-paying jobs: two for under $10 and one for $15 per hour. I made a six-figure income when I left my last job. My husband makes a modest income of $30 to $40 thousand per year, for which I am very grateful. Our family of four (we have a junior in high school and an 8th grader) has purchased independent health insurance with very large deductibles. My son got a job at a local sandwich shop and is proudly making his own money. We have no dental plan. We do not get sick, and my fingers are crossed that we continue to be in good health. For now, we are just not going to the dentist, at all. Our property taxes are $8,000 a year. It is a modest home, but its value has gone up almost four-fold since we we bought it. We are living in the red every month, and obviously, this has to change. We have a few more months of savings (and we have already cut back considerably). I am currently working with a realtor to downsize. Unfortunately, real estate in Austin is high. Through unemployment, I get $450 every two weeks, or around $900. The amount of money I get sustains us. It does not get us out of the red every month, but it extends my savings and we have really needed it.
From Memphis, Tennessee:
My bills are not being paid. I pray that EUI passes next week.
From Aurora, Colorado:
All of my bills are behind and utilities have been shut off, including my phone and Internet access. I have borrowed all I can from friends and family. I can't even afford to put gas in my car to go on a job interview. I have sold all I can sell (clothes, furniture, etc.). I am at risk of being evicted from my place because I can't pay my rent. I have a 13-year-old and a 20-year_old to take care of, and I am so ashamed because I have even had to ask my 20-year-old for money; she works a part-time job and is trying to go to school. I was diagnosed with major depression disorder and can't afford to pay for my prescription. I have three pills left. My license plate sticker was expired and I exceeded the limit on license plate temporary stickers due to not being able to fix my car so I could pass the emissions test. The check engine light went off long enough for me to pass the emissions test. I went into the DMV again to see if I could get an exception for yet another temporary sticker so I could go on an interview. The temporary sticker was $10 and the plate sticker was $121. I was denied the exception, but by the grace of God, the woman who was helping me paid for the $121 sticker, and she told me to pay it forward. I broke down in tears in the middle of DMV. I will pay it forward the first chance I get.
From Sarasota, Florida:
I am a 63-year-old educator who has taught elementary school for 40 years. In those 40 years, I only had four jobs. I had a strong work ethic and never expected anyone to take care of me, nor did I ever ask anyone for anything. The first time I have asked for assistance, the people on Capitol Hill, without any consideration for the unemployed, removed the compensation after only six months! I am now living on Social Security that I was forced to take early since I lost my job. I receive $1,168 a month with no assistance (Food Stamps, Medicaid, etc.). I buy the minimum amount of food and try not to go anywhere so I can save on gas. I keep my fingers crossed that nothing catastrophic happens to me or my 13-year-old car. What a way to live!
From Philadelphia, Pennsylvania:
We no longer have heat or hot water in my home. My 14-year-old son is experiencing feelings of inferiority now that we are welfare recipients. Not only am I applying to over 10 companies a week, I am interviewing at three companies each week, and I'm constantly updating my education and work skills. I believe a big part of the problem is age discrimination, and each application and interview is making me feel more and more depressed and hopeless. I am also an honorably discharged veteran of the Air Force and Pennsylvania Army National Guard.
From Tollesboro, Kentucky:
I'm a pancreatic cancer patient. My wife's equine business has not been profitable in the past year; no one is buying, but the horses keep eating. I put in 43 years of work in Information Technology when I could still drive alone. Now, with my pain pump, I can't drive more than a few miles without someone else in the vehicle. There has been ZERO income in our household since Jan. 2, 2014 after Congress allowed EUC to lapse. We have no cash at ALL for fuel, food, or household products. We have sold everything I bought in the last 20 years to keep the lights on, mortgage paid, and home/auto insurance paid. Internet/phone and TV provider payments seem to come every three weeks instead of monthly. It's tough. My wife is a brave hero!
From Alsip, Illinois:
If I do not get [these benefits], I will not be able to pay for my housing. I already owe my landlord lots of money, and my bills are piling up. It is ridiculous that we can bail out the banks and car companies, but we can't help the people who work to keep this country going. My family has served in the armed forces and fought for our freedoms, but yet we can't get help. It's sad. What's worse is the people in charge are still eating steaks and living large while we the people suffer. It's really not fair.
From Austin, Texas:
I come from generations of hardworking Americans! The words "can't" and "impossible" were not words we used. My grandfather died of a heart attack and my dad was the oldest of four brothers. He had to take over the role of head-of-the-house and was not able to go to college. Later, my dad worked two jobs to provide for my mom and us two kids. He served his country and became a police officer. He knew with hard work and determination, he would gradually "climb the ladder of success," and he did! He became an entrepreneur owning multiple business, an inventor, and a collector.
The apple didn't fall far from the tree, and I have owned several businesses. When I became a mom, that was the most rewarding and important job I could ever have, and I took it seriously. I have always been a single mom, did not receive any child support, and never was on welfare or unemployed. I started my first business as a way to stay home with my son. When he began school, I went back to school to finish my degree. Time went on, and I decided to exchange the long hours of having my own businesses for working for someone else. For the last five years, I was commuting 160 miles a day to my job and working 8-10 hour days. The company was a family-owned business, and when the mom and dad founders died, it was passed down to four feuding brothers. I was fired for no reason and just told, "The company is moving in a new direction without you." Later I discovered they fired all the employees who were making "good incomes" and had vacation time, etc. to hire new, lower-paid employees that they didn't have to pay benefits or health care. On that drive home the morning I got fired, I stopped at every business I saw to apply or ask if they were hiring. By the end of the day, I knew something had definitely changed in the job field and I filed, for the first time, for unemployment.
Currently, my son is a senior at the same university I graduated from. He received a scholastic scholarship and has two part-time jobs and moved back home to help with the bills. He drives 120 miles round-trip to school. I have tried everything to find a job without any luck. I have been in constant contact with my Workforce Solutions office and attended every class they provided. The advice they gave me was to take all the dates off my resume so potential employers couldn't tell my age. I felt this would help, but once I received an interview, the truth would be evident. Well, since June, I have had only two interviews and no job offers.
There was no warning my unemployment would run out. I received a letter two weeks before my last UI benefits check. I was told I needed to apply for Emergency Unemployment. I was able to get approved over the phone, and even though my benefit amount was slightly decreased, I received no lapse in payments. I received one payment before I was cut off without any notice! When I called to ask about the additional week I didn't receive, I was told at that time that "funding ran out." Each week, I would call my state unemployment office and was told, "Any day Congress would pass the bill to extend benefits as it has done the past six years." It wasn't until late January that I was told the future funding of EUC was questionable.
I learned a big lesson from being unemployed for the first time in my life. I realized I never wanted to be unemployed again! When the jobs offers didn't come, I said, "This is the time I need to re-skill myself." I made an appointment with the university counselor and made arrangements to re-enroll in college and take the five remaining classes for a second degree. I also made arrangements to get my real estate license. In order to have enough money to do these things, I knew in addition to the unemployment I was receiving, I also needed to wait to get my tax return money. Since the EUC money ran out, I have had to use up all my savings, tax return money, and borrow from family for my son and I to survive! There is no money left and I will lose everything I have worked hard for the last 30 years! This is not the America my dad told me about!
From Sterling Heights, Michigan:
I am a 58-year-old office manager/bookkeeper with a disabled husband. His disability payment covers our bills such as rent, utilities, and auto insurance, but that is it. There is NO money for food, prescriptions, doctor visits, my husband's therapy, household supplies as simple as toilet paper, cleaning supplies, and, importantly, gasoline (which is needed for job interviews). Although we may be able to maintain a roof over our heads, the fridge and cupboards are empty. The gas tank is empty. My husband's health deteriorates daily without his heart medications. I can't afford the gas to go to church. So, in other words, we have no life here. I have been diligently seeking employment. I have a strong resume and have had some job interviews, but there are so many much younger than myself seeking the same jobs that I am finding it extremely difficult to compete. Due to my work history and qualifications, it is impossible for me to secure even a cashier job because those employers feel I am "overqualified." They advise they do not what to take the time to train me because as soon as something better comes along, I would leave. Yet I am 8 1/2 years away from retirement age. I feel as though I am caught in an abyss – too old to secure employment in an office setting and too young to draw my Social Security and retire.
From Lawrenceville, Georgia:
I was laid off in October 2013 due to no fault of my own. I have actively been seeking employment from Day 1. As a single parent of four, when my unemployment ended the week of Feb. 12, I start living off the little I had in savings. I am down to my last $500, rent is due next week, and I don't have enough to pay it. I have no family here and nowhere to go. I'm crying because it looks like my children and I will be letting our belongings go, packing up what we can, and living out of our vehicle. Please have a heart and extend unemployment! I've worked hard since I was 16 years old and have never been a lazy person. I have been looking for work and applying to every job I can. I don't want to depend on the government or handouts because I am capable of working and making decent money for me and my children. I just need assistance until I can land a job, any job. PLEASE EXTEND EUC BENEFITS!!! I have never been without work this long.
From Missoula, Montana:
I was unemployed from June until December 2013. I had unemployment insurance during that time, and I found a job on Dec. 9. My [new] employers unexpectedly let me go without any cause on March 6. I have no savings, no partner in life to help with expenses, and very little money left to keep the roof over my head while I continue to look for work. I have enough money to last about a month before I go homeless. Missoula has more than a year-long waiting list for any housing assistance. I have nowhere to turn. I am a legal assistant with more than 20 years' experience, but there are so few jobs here and so much competition for every job. I am looking for work every day. I am even applying for part-time work and work offered at any compensation rate.
From Seattle, Washington:
We will have to give up our home. I have looked for work. I am 63 and so far, I have not found a job although I have experience in several fields.
From Grand Blanc, Michigan:
I was laid off after 16 years as a public school teacher (economy declining, school closing). I'm substitute teaching and was collecting "underemployment," and that made ends meet. I am a single mom of two and have lived in the house I "own" (mortgage payments) for ten years. I have two master's degrees (Teaching and Public Administration) and an Ed Specialist in Education Administration (student loans, too). I had savings. My mom helped me a little. I look for jobs, apply for positions ranging from $11 an hour to $25,000 per year and upward, with an emphasis on the lower-paying jobs as I figure I will work my way up. I applied for Medicaid and have it [as of] April 1. I consider myself lucky, blessed, etc. I am confident I will get a job. But in the meantime, just like everyone else [Congress is] slamming, I need a little financial help – the help I have been paying into for 68 percent of my life.
From Kansas City, Kansas:
Everything costs a little cash, whether it's a dollar here or there, and it all adds up. I am unable to keep gasoline in my car without having to beg from others. When I have a job interview clear across town, I'm thinking to myself the whole time, "Please don't make me waste the gas just to say no or to interview with another set of people the following week." Groceries are a major problem, feeding two adults and three growing sons on a near-absent budget is heartbreaking! And seeing the look in their eyes when they tell me they have to bring something to school and we can't get it for them...
From Spokane, Washington:
My regular benefits just ran out three weeks ago. I have three children and they are all under 12 years old. My ex-husband is in jail for abusing them. I am their only source of livelihood. I have no savings because they were paid out to therapy for my children. Please. We need help.
From Liberty, Mississippi:
Ever since the company I worked for lost its contract, I've been out of a job. I am constantly looking for work. The unemployment [insurance] was a lifeline for me. I have been borrowing money from family members just to get by on my rent, lights, and I no longer have my car because I can't afford to pay notes. My benefits were exhausted in January and it has been even harder to get by every day now. I am constantly trying to get on my feet and have been knocked back down every week these benefits go unapproved.
From Alexandria, Virginia:
I'm unable to pay my rent as a result of this policy. In addition, I am currently in the process of trying to get certification training and can't afford to pay for the tests that would actually lead to more employment opportunities. I can no longer travel as a result of this policy. I have to pay for Internet, which is required to apply for most jobs.
From Denver, Colorado:
I am facing homelessness. Not being able to pay your rent at 44 years of age is beyond embarrassing. I have worked since I was 14 years old, and this is the first time my situation is this dire. There is relatively little to eat in my house, I can't drive to look for work because of the gas and insurance that I can no longer afford, and my Internet will be shut off pretty soon, so [there's] one more way of job searching that will be just a bit harder as there are constantly lines at the library to use the computers. Then I will take my 30 minutes of time to look for something, anything really, so I can redeem myself in the eyes of my children, and mostly in my own eyes, to be a worthwhile, contributing, taxpaying American citizen.
From San Diego, California:
Where do I begin? Since the day I was laid off, I have been actively looking for a job. Sending out resumes daily. Getting responses from few. A dozen or more interviews, but just can't seem to land a job. I am signed up with five employment agencies, and they aren't able to find a job for me, either. My savings account is gone. I have about $10 in my checking account. I have to borrow money monthly from family to pay my car loan and insurance. And I am now deeply in debt to them. I used up my tax refund to pay my last month's rent and bills. I am broke. Even the change jar is gone. I can't move into a cheaper place because I have no income and no job. My job is to find a job. It is no picnic being unemployed. And when asked in an interview "How long ago was it that you were laid off"? I tell them the truth. "And what have you been doing all this time?" I reply, "Looking for a job; it's hard out here." So many people looking for work. So much competition. I don't just want this extension to pass, I need it to live. Bills are piling up. Debts are piling up. I can't pay next month's rent. Please help those who are trying to help themselves.
From Morristown, New Jersey:
Since losing my teaching job at the end of June of last year, I have aggressively sought to find employment, both in my chosen field, as well as in others, such as retail, offices, etc. Then, in January, unemployment compensation ended, leaving me to pay the mortgage on my house and other expenses from my savings. (I am unmarried, without children, and live alone.) I am down to the final month left to pay my bills, meaning mortgage, maintenance fees, car insurance, etc. Help has come in the form of food stamps/SNAP/EBT, but soon I will no longer have a home in which to eat said food. After 12+ years of faithfully paying my mortgage, eliminating credit debt, and working, I'm facing life where I am going to lose everything.
From Seneca, South Carolina:
I was 57 years old when I was laid off last year. I raised my two children on my own. No child support, no welfare, only hard work. I helped my children while they were in college. I always managed to pay my bills on time. South Carolina only gives 20 weeks of unemployment. When the 20 weeks were up in July 2013, I started to receive EUC; by then, I was struggling to keep up with my financial obligations even though I had cut all unnecessary expenses. By December 2013, I could no longer pay all my creditors. I moved in with my 82-year_old mother who lives off of a fixed income. I've sold all my belongings since I've had zero income, and I've had no savings as of January of 2014. I had no option but to file for bankruptcy in March 2014. If it wasn't for my mother, my car would have already been repossessed. In the almost 14 months I've been unemployed, I've only had two interviews and no offers. I'm either overqualified or do not meet the job requirements. I know it's an age-related obstacle. I have no money to pay for gas or car insurance. I will no longer have a phone starting in April. I'm at the end of my rope. I cannot borrow any more money from my friends and family. Needless to say, I put in an average of 20 job applications on average every week in all the surrounding cities. I'm not lazy. I've worked since I was 16.
From Chicago, Illinois:
I have NO MONEY! I couldn't make it to my last interview because I did not have train fare! My gas tank has not been more than half full in months. I am living with relatives and they are tired of picking up the tab for me! Let's not even mention the past-due bills. My phone will be cut off in a week, and I will be left with no means of contact.
From Corona, California:
My husband lost his job just one month after losing his mother. On May 3, 2013, we were thrown into a kind of chaos we had never known. We've been married for 20 years, and both of us had always worked – three kids, two dogs, and a mortgage on the house we have lived in for 17 years. We used his 401K to survive, in addition to the unemployment payments he received right up to December 28th – unemployment he had never collected in his 30+ years of working.
I am a special education teacher, supporting a family of five. My salary is good but not quite enough to support an entire household. For the past three months, we have played the "which bill can we not pay?" game. Electric? Nope, they turned it off in January, and we had to borrow money to turn that back on. Cell phone? Nope, still under contract, and my husband kinda needs it to look for work. Satellite TV? Oh how I wish, but we have a contract with them, too, with BIG penalties if we shut it off. Water? Nope, they turn it off once you go 30 days past due, and won't turn it back on until you bring it current, which is usually 2 months' worth of payments, so it's not worth it, and I need a shower...just saying. Auto insurance? I think not, at least not in California; I just don't feel like losing my home because of a car accident. Food? We tried that. Being hungry isn't fun and makes one rather snappish when talking with prospective employers. Mortgage? We have now spread January and February payments over a six-month period, raising our monthly payment $300. Truck payment? Nope, it's already been repossessed once, and my husband kinda needs it to look for work and chauffeur everyone around.
Eight percent of my salary goes straight into a requirement fund, right off the top. I use what's left to juggle bills as they come at us and try to stay one step ahead of the next utility to be shut off. On paper, I make just enough to make us ineligible for many of the programs designed to help people in need. In reality, I don't make enough to keep a roof over our heads. The unemployment payments my husband received were literally the deciding factor on whether we could pay our bills.
Before my husband was let go, we survived comfortably with two kids in high school and one in college. Once he lost his job, 60 percent of the family income disappeared. We have made many adjustments since last May. My oldest dropped out of college and works part time. We have sold what we could, accepting offers substantially lower than what the items were really worth. Last month, my husband pawned his wedding ring for $75 worth of gas money.
From Bement, Illinois:
As a single mother who does not receive child support, I have been forced to apply for financial assistance through welfare for the first time in my life! I have applied for jobs regularly but have been unable to gain employment. We need Congress to help us!
From Willamsville, New York:
My husband and I are getting shut-off notices in the mail for utilities. We owe so many people money, it is unreal... We were kicked out of bankruptcy because we couldn't keep up with the payments, meaning we got no tax [refund] back; the bankruptcy court took [it], so [we received] no money there. We are finding we are eating peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for dinner, cereal, cans of soup, maybe crackers.
From Enid, Oklahoma:
I have been looking for work, and nothing is coming through. If it wasn't for me taking care of an 83-year-old man from my church and his $1,000.00-a-month Social Security [benefits], I would be struggling just like many others. The Senate and the House continue to get paid even after leaving office. We don't have [that] benefit. I am even waiting on my disability benefits diabetes and back injury) but still trying to work a little, but [I've had] no calls or interviews. This is money we have paid in; I don't understand why it takes so long. I think the House should pass this bill or maybe share part of their wealth to help us. It is not because we are lazy; we want to do what is right. Remember, we voted you in, and we can vote you out. What if your family, brother, or sister was borrowing money from you to make ends meet? Please pass this bill and remember it was the Republicans that passed the two-year extension. Praying for all of us and all of you.
From Powder Springs, Georgia:
Since I have lost my job, I have sold all my household belongings to pay bills. I no longer have a car, and I am being put into foreclosure.
From Chicago, Illinois:
It's a very sad story, but here it is. I am a health care worker with over 20 years of specialized experience in my field. Despite all of my best efforts, I have been unable to secure a job, and this has never happened before. My husband is totally, permanently disabled, and I am his caregiver. My husband also has a service animal. Because I lost the EUC benefits before I was able to get a job, we are currently being evicted from our home because we can no longer afford the rent. We have until May 31st to move out. We do not have enough money to come up with a security deposit and first month's rent on a new place, and we have absolutely nowhere to go. We may be forced to go to another city or state for me to find work, but we will be homeless as of May 31, 2014 due to the loss of my emergency EUC benefits.
From Missoula, Montana:
I had relocated from Arizona to Montana to stay with my family while in search for work. There is virtually no work in MT for an IT professional, so a friend in Longview, WA offered me a place to stay to seek work in Portland [Oregon]. When my unemployment ran out, I was unable to pay him the minimal amount he was asking for, my cell phone was turned off, I had no access to the Internet, and my truck went into repossession status. In addition, without the EUC, I cannot afford gas for interviews in Portland. I have been stuck homeless on the streets living in my Tundra that could be taken away at any time. I am eating at the Salvation Army and other social services locations, showering at the YMCA, and becoming part of the fabric of the socially distressed in our country. I am currently looking for any work in Longview at this moment to earn enough money to help me get to Portland so I can obtain public transportation and secure an IT position to rebuild. Without EUC, my chances of meeting my goals has been completely diminished. I finally had to resort to selling my constant companion, Jackson. He is a full-bred AKC chocolate lab that I have raised since he was six weeks old. I am desperate to regain these benefits that I have already paid into for my success going forward. We paid for EUC in advance and we, the unemployed, are simply making a claim against that insurance policy, not looking for a handout. To the House and Congressman Boehner: get this passed! We the people need it.
From Laurel, Maryland:
I have worked all my adult life. I am over 60, and I was pushed out of my job because of my age. My rent, car note, and electricity are all two months behind. I can barely get food. Utilities will be cut off soon. I am about to lose everything like so many others. I have been looking for work, but I am the age no one wants to hire.
From San Diego, California:
I can't afford to pay my rent in June 2014. I used up all my savings paying my rent and bills. I have been working continuously since I was 16. I am not used to not working. I'm sad, depressed, and have been searching for work with no luck.
From Norcross, Georgia:
I will have to relocate to another state to get help from family. I was cut off after drawing unemployment for only 18 weeks. My car broke down in January, and I have not been able to repair it.
From Dayton, Ohio:
I have been unemployed for six months – and this is not because I was a "bad, inexperienced, uneducated, never showed up for work" employee. While trying to file for extended unemployment benefits, I found out I will not receive emergency unemployment because my regular unemployment ran out. I have worked and paid my way all my life (two college degrees). Now, I am sitting here in my living room with a wealth of job experience, but NO income and NO job. Somehow we got it all wrong! It is extremely "expensive" and "unhealthy" to be POOR. It is so depressing to try and live off of unemployment. I was barely making it, but at least I wasn't in the street sitting on a curb waiting for the flies. If the extended unemployment insurance compensation law doesn't pass, where do I go? What do I do? I have watched my financial well-being go from something to nothing (middle-class to poverty). What next, America?
From Copperas Cove, Texas:
I was in the United States Army infantry for six years and 14 weeks. I got out in February of 2013. Before the Army, I [worked] 5 1/2 years as a stock clerk at a company called Publix. I left on good terms to go into the Army. Since getting out of the Army, I have filled out countless applications but have had no job. I was able to live on unemployment insurance while I attended school, and it helped me feed myself and my family. [Since] my unemployment ran out, I have been turning to local food banks to supply some of my food. My debt is rising higher, and recently I had my car repoed as I could not afford the payment any more. I walk or bike (currently walk as my bike tire is flat) to school and around town to fill out job applications or pick up groceries.
From Margate, Florida:
I'm unable to pay my bills, I'm three months behind on my house and I'm almost facing foreclosure, and I can hardly put food on the table. I lost my health care [because] I can't pay the monthly fees, and I was told last month that I have RA [rheumatoid arthritis]. The chances of someone wanting to hire me is low. I've applied for SSI but haven't been approved. I've done everything [I can]; I've been working since 1988 and have no support. It is unfair that we pay into unemployment and we are cut off because [Congress] won't approve the extension, yet they all live in fancy homes, have fancy cars, and can pay for their stuff on time. All the while, we the people of Florida suffer. Pass the bill to save the Florida people. Stop and think what's going to happen when everyone loses their homes and cars and [livelihoods]. What happens to the children, their lives, their childhood? We are not asking for much; just help us working people.
From Spokane, Washington:
I have been employed all of my adult life, and I [had] never received unemployment. Since I have lost my job, I have been searching diligently for a new job. I am 53, and like so many of the other stories I have read, nobody will hire me. I'm willing to take the pay cut.
I am no longer able to provide for my child. We will be in a homeless shelter as of May 1st. She has Asperger's, and this will be horribly stressful for her. I feel like a failure. My car is for sale; I cannot even afford gas.
From Wood Dale, Illinois:
I have lost my home and without the shelter and financial aid offered by family and friends, I would be in the street. Without SNAP, I would be starving. I have two degrees and over 20 years' experience in law and hospitality.
From Perkiomenville, Pennsylvania:
I lost my home, my car, my world. Had it just been myself, picking up and just leaving wouldn't have been an issue, but I have a family with three children, seven, five, and four. We are homeless, temporarily residing with my father, who is also unemployed and ineligible for unemployment because he made too much money. This economy forced my family to split up. I have filled out over 200 applications. When there are 500 applicants per job, regardless of knowledge and understanding, it's the younger who are chosen first. I'm 32, I have deep, full knowledge and understanding in my field, and I am fully able and competent to achieve any goal anyone sets in front of me. If I need learn a new trade, you best believe I'll do it until my last breath, because I am a mother. I've worked my entire life and supported myself my entire life. I'm not asking for anything more than life sustainability. Right now, we have nothing. I need to get my family back together.
From Farmington, Missouri:
I am an elementary school teacher with two Masters degrees. I was turned down today for yet another job because the teaching market is so flooded and apparently, I am too qualified for any other positions I have applied for. My unemployment ran out in December and I have manged to live off my savings until now. My home was foreclosed on last month, and as of Monday, my phone will be shut off, so even if I get another call for a job, I won't have a phone for them to contact me. My car will be repossessed soon. I don't have anything left. Because I cannot get my unemployment insurance that I paid [for], I am officially without hope.
From Lubbock, Texas:
I am behind on all my bills, my car is behind three payments, and I can't find a full-time job to save my life! I'm diabetic and I cant afford my medications; I'm not taking half of them. If this doesn't get worked out, I'm screwed!
From Baldwin Park, California:
I have a three-year-old daughter and a wife [who] depend on my income. This past March, I exhausted all my benefits and now my wife and daughter are living at her parents' house because I cannot afford the rent [on] our house.
From Pougkeepsie, New York:
Well, since December 2013, I have not received any payment [from] unemployment insurance. My phone has been shut off and I am now homeless. I am a veteran of the United States Navy, having served two combat deployments.
From New Orleans, Louisiana:
I don't even know where to start. I was on my job for 17 years, never missed a day, and was never late. I worked hard and long hours. Now I have run out of savings and I have no income. I have to borrow money just to ride the bus to an interview; I have a car, but it costs money to drive it. I'm not lazy at all; I just have nowhere else to turn. My unemployment check was helping me to pay my bills and look for work. Now I don't have that. I'm 51 and it's hard to find work. If I get a interview this week, I would have to cancel it because I don't have the money to go. I'm out of food and personal items just for daily upkeep. I have worked all of my life, and this what it has come down to.
From Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania:
Well, if no help is coming, my wife and children will be [kicked] out of our home. I am also unable to look for work because there is no money for gas and there is no bus service [here]. And [even] if there was, I could not get on the bus because there is no money. I have walked for miles to find work, only to be told there is no work. Please help us before we are homeless.
From North Aurora, Illinois:
I have worked for 35 years of my life and never collected unemployment. Now, because I get no unemployment anymore, I'm forced to rob from my future. I have to take money out of my retirement [fund] to survive today. Don't ask me what I'm going to do in the future because most of my retirement money will go to help me survive today.
From Whittier, California:
I have been out of work for just over six months, and due to when I lost my job, out of unemployment benefits. I am now facing possibly the loss of my home and don't know how I'm going to buy groceries and gas for the car. I get up early every morning and start the job search. It is my first priority every day, but I still have not found a job. This week, I have no choice but to go try and sell my car just to get at least one house payment paid to keep a roof over our heads. My husband works but is on a reduced-hours schedule. I have worked all my life starting with a part-time job in high school, and now in my fifties need help after paying in all my life to find it falls on deaf ears.
From Las Vegas, Nevada:
After losing my job, my son and I can't even afford food or a place to live, and we have had a really hard time. I ended up losing my home and my car, and I have no money to get around to look for work. I walk around everyday looking for work and putting in applications. We can't afford health insurance. If the unemployment extension is approved, that would help me get back on my feet and get around to more places to find work. I'm a single mother, and living here and there with my son is really hard.
From Mercer, Pennsylvania:
I am 63 years old and have worked since I was 15 years old...48 years! I've paid taxes over those years, and my employer has paid into my unemployment insurance over all those years. Now I've been laid off due to my employer's financial instability, and I will not be called back. I've applied for hundreds of jobs over the past several months and I get the same story: "You wouldn't be happy with the salary we are offering and leave"; "Why don't you apply for your Social Security early?"; "We have several applicants we are considering. We'll call." The list of excuses goes on and on. I have an outstanding work record – I never miss work, I'm multi-skilled, I'm willing to do any job, I get along with others, and I have great references. But still, no job offers, and although it is not said aloud, I've been told off the record that most employers want an employee they will have for a longer period of time (it's well known that I will be eligible for full Social Security in just a few years).
My husband is a 90 percent unemployable disabled Vietnam veteran, we live in an area where the economy is not rebounding as it is in many areas, and we are finding out what food banks are, what it feels like to want to pay our bills and not be able to, and what a terrible experience it is to try to collect my unemployment benefits! Our utilities are late for the first time in 40 years, we have to eat venison five nights a week (thank God my son and husband both got a deer this season), we can't afford to get a car that starts every time and doesn't overheat, and since we are not employed, we can't apply for or pay for a loan to get a dependable car.
My employer does pay for health insurance for employees who are laid off for up to nine months. That nine months is ending, and I'm too young for Medicare and will have to wait and see if I'm eligible for Medicaid in Pennsylvania. Who knows? I will probably have to beg for that, too. I hate not having a job, and it is really disheartening to think I tried to do the right thing all these years only to end up like this. A sad commentary.
From Saltillo, Mississippi:
As of September 2013, I was let go from my job and sought unemployment to help compensate from this loss. Being a single mother of two children, I was enrolled in nursing school and thinking maybe things would be OK until I finished, that I could make a better life for my children. As graduation got closer (July 2014), I lost that security, and now I am uncertain if I can even finish my last semester in school due to lack of resources.
From Coon Rapids, Minnesota:
I have worked close to 40 years and am in my mid fifties, which makes finding a job much more difficult. I search every day and send my resume out two to five times a day. Without receiving any extended benefits since the end of February 2014, it has put a real strain on me, as I cannot make house payments or utility payments, and my wife needs medicine, which need to be filled weekly. Instead of spending half my day on job searching, now I have been [needing] to spend my time going to the food assistance place one day, the next day to the medical assistance [office], and the next day to a different place to get help with utilities, and tomorrow a different place to get help with the house payment so hopefully that won't go into foreclosure. Politicians [are] completely out of touch with the people, and it takes time away from my job searching, puts a strain on all these other assistance programs, and is just wasting a lot of time unnecessarily.
From Kettering, Ohio:
My unemployment ran out Feb. 18,2014. Since then, I have not been able to make any payments on my mortgage, utilities, car insurance, phone, Internet service, and medical bills. I do not have health insurance because Ohio Medicaid is fighting me, saying I have no disabilities and I am not 65 years. With no money coming in, I have had to borrow from family members to pay the bare minimum. I let my credit cards go and all my medical bills. I am living with my son, who has picked up what he can for me. I am not able to buy food, so I go to friends' homes to eat a couple times a week and the rest is eaten here with food from the food pantries, which does not last the entire month. There are times I cannot drive my car because of no insurance and/or no gas money. I need transportation to [get to] job interviews, so this too is a dilemma. I have applied at places I never knew were there; there are at least 500 resumes of mine out to employers right now. I spend eight to 10 hours a day applying for jobs, both on the Internet and going from place to place and applying in person where I can. My situation does not stand alone, but I am getting to the point where I have no options. I am depressed and frustrated with my situation with nowhere to turn. I am also going through anxiety and having panic attacks that are very hard on me. I am not going to stop looking, but meanwhile, it would be such a relief to get some help. You have no idea how good it would be to go to the store and buy food again and be able to pay my bills so I can keep my lights on at home.
From Chino, California:
Our family is about to be homeless. We have exhausted all our money, including our 401(k) savings, and have sold all jewelry and anything of value, with the exception of the computer to look for work. We have shut off notices for all utilities. We have even tried [applying in] fast food and have been told we are overqualified. So what are people supposed to do? We still have children in the home [who] have to worry if they have a place to call home after school. My husband has battled medical issues but has pushed through hoping to find work. He has even tried for disability but was denied even after he had toes amputated. It's sad that this is how things have become.
From Basking Ridge, New Jersey:
This is so blatantly irresponsible of our elected officials. I have worked steadily since I was 14 years old. I have paid into unemployment for all of those years. I was laid off in July of 2013, and have not been able to find any work since that time. I have submitted over 300 resumes and cover letters to many different types of industries. I am a wireless telecom analyst by profession but have looked for opportunities outside of my profession. I have moved out of my apartment and am now living with my brother and his wife, who are also experiencing hard times as a result of the recession. I have exhausted all of my savings, almost exhausted my 401(k) retirement account, and my unemployment Benefits ran out on Jan. 5, 2014. (I didn't even get any extended benefits, as they expired on Dec. 28, 2013.) I am suffering, but am blessed and thankful that I do have an understanding family who are generous enough to share what little they have with me. I wonder each day about the countless families that do not even have the options that I am lucky enough to have. What has happened to this country? This is an embarrassment to the civilized world.
From Beckley, West Virginia:
I'm a 37-year-old male with a clean background and a solid work history. After my company lost the contract I was working [on] to a cheaper bid, I was laid off. I have searched for work every single day, applying [for] every job that is posted on the Internet that I can even remotely qualify for, and I give my resumé to any and every business I think will accept it, whether they are hiring or not. I am now homeless with a 16-month-old baby! I only have food thanks to the little bit of Food Stamps we receive monthly. I've literally sold everything I've got to survive.
From Burner, Illinois:
Since my unemployment has expired, I am homeless with my children. I have begged everyone I know for help. I still look for work at the library. I apply for hundreds of jobs with no response. Please help.
From San Diego, California:
I worked for years for a company that's #1 in its field of medical billing software. They decided to outsource for the same work and less pay to Mexico and India. My unemployment benefits ended in January 2014. I have been very fugal with my income just because I didn't know if I would find a job or what my needs would be later on. With all my bills past due and all my resources dried up, I sold my car a couple of months ago just to cover rent. It has been quite difficult to keep my spirits up and stay motivated. Every day, I apply for a job and hope for a call...but without a phone, without a car or money to take public transportation, and just trying to keep a roof over my head. I have just started getting ill from the stress of it all. I can't give up, but I am very frustrated.
From Conneaut, Ohio:
We have overdue winter utility bills and cannot offer support to our child in college. We have resorted to borrowing from our parents to pay some bills, and we cannot afford gas for our vehicle. We are living off basic meals like beans and oatmeal. Our home maintenance is falling behind, and we cannot afford Internet at home. We are in a very desperate situation.
From Colorado Springs, Colorado:
I was laid off from a company in December 2012 because the company made bad financial decisions and decided to make up that bad decision by performing a company-wide layoff. Everyone who was laid off was over 40, and since I am over 60, I am sure you can do the math. With many years of working experience and four degrees in the fields of engineering and business, I have not been able to find employment. Why hire someone over 60 when you can hire someone in their 20s, 30s, or 40s?
Our politicians believe that the long-termed unemployed are some type of disease that will go away if ignored long enough. Breaking news: we are Americans who were put in this position through no fault of our own. I started working at 19 and have worked continuously until Corporate America learned the words "downsize," "layoff," and "shutdown."
My husband is disabled and is also a veteran who served his country during wartime, and what is sad about all of this is that we have worked all our lives and planned accordingly, but at the age of 61, we have lost our family home and now have to get help from the state just to exist.
From Lerna, Illinois:
I was teaching high school biology until I was laid off from a shrinking district, putting me on unemployment. I was already applying for positions, so with my honor roll grades, I couldn't imagine a problem. The problem is that I am 65 and at the high end of the pay scale. I apply every single day. And after all these months, I've not yet had a single interview.
Since December 28, 2013, we have been living on the money we had set aside for property taxes, which after I pay this month's utilities will all be gone. We are already running out of things to eat. We have a half tank of gas in each car. Must we lose everything we have worked for all our lives while we wait for jobs? After a lifetime of dedicating ourselves to the welfare of the nation's children, must we be taken apart and thrown into the street? We are scared.
From Spokane, Washington:
I have already lost my car and now my home is in jeopardy. I have received free health care and food stamps. I have worked my whole life in retail management. Right out of school, I went straight to work, and now I have had my car repossessed and will be evicted next month. I cashed in my 401(k) just to survive. I'm 46, and I hope to rebuild at some point.
From Nunnelly, Tennessee:
Wow. We can't even pay our bills, and it's a struggle day to day. I can't even afford to go look for work because I don't have the gas to put in my truck. I don't know what I'll do if I lose my home. I am struggling.
From West Islip, New York:
I have no money to pay bills or food. I have borrowed way too much from family and friends to even attempt to pay it back. I was cut off at 26 weeks from a job I worked for almost nine years. My house is in foreclosure, and I owe electric company too much, so they're going to shut me off.
From Euclid, Ohio:
I'm behind on rent and my car payments. My landlord calls almost daily demanding something. My mom has pulled from her 401(k) to float me, but she's overextended. I beg for gas money from friends just so I can pick my sons up from school! I have a Master's degree; this is not supposed to be my life! I've applied for everything and yet I remain unemployed. My brother has to cover my sons' haircuts and our toiletries. This isn't right! Soon, I won't be able to hide my car. The finance company will come to get it. Then how will I get to work when someone calls? At least with unemployment, I was able to pay a portion of everything to keep me out of collections and avoid disconnections. Now, I'm the local charity case.
From Denton, Texas:
On April 25, 2013, the president of our company walked in and told us that our office would close immediately and medical benefits would stop that day. I received severance pay (seven weeks for seven years of employment). Since I am a two-time cancer survivor and had a stroke, I needed my medical insurance. I had to take Social Security early so that I could get Medicare. (I was getting ready to turn 65 when they shut us down.) I could not find a job; each week, I sent out resumes, but my age was apparent and I would get no calls. I now have a part-time job (20 hours a week @ $10 per hour), but I cannot get my past-due mortgage or car payments caught up. If the EUC would be restored, I would be able to get my mortgage and car caught up. I am a single woman and purchased my home eight years ago thinking that I would be working until I was at least 70 so that I could get a larger Social Security check. The stress is killing me. I am living my life in quiet desperation, like all the other people who have lost EUC.
From Fort Collins, Colorado:
I am three months behind on child support. I have had to miss job interviews due to no gas in car. I moved in with parents at age 47. I'm part of a temp-to-hire program that is federally funded, but I've received no placement in four weeks. I posses BS & AA degrees. Its hard to eat, drive, and pay the Internet bill – 90 percent of jobs require online applications. I've been very actively applying for jobs for eight months with nothing yet. I even am open to any career change. I am Worried I will lose my driver's license due to lack of child support payments. My son is 9 1/2, and I have never missed a payment until four months ago.
From Fremont, California:
I lost my dad two weeks ago, I have been searching non-stop looking for work, and I was forced out of my dad's house because he sold it. I have to pay rent and take care of my child; my ex-husband hasn't paid child support since 2002. Without unemployment, I can't support my family or put gas in the car, and I will become homeless.
From Washington, DC:
Where to start...the abrupt termination of emergency benefits, or the endless weeks of false hope and promises. I have no money to get to interviews, as public transportation in DC is approx $5.60-$7.30 round trip. I also have no money for phone, no money to even keep up my personal hygiene. For over 11 years, I was steadily employed at $40K-$55K, and now I'm soon to be homeless for complete lack of congressional and House leadership.
From Victorville, California:
On March 30, 2014, I was attacked by my husband and suffered a traumatic brain injury. I was hospitalized until April 16, 2014. With my husband incarcerated and me left without the ability to seek work at the moment, as well as being cut off of unemployment benefits since Dec. 28, 2013, I am currently destitute, unable to pay rent and utilities. I am so filled with stress at the thought of being evicted in the midst of healing physically and emotionally from that terrible episode in March. My family is 2,000 miles away, so moving in with a family member is out of the question.
From Euless, Texas:
I stopped receiving Emergency Unemployment on Dec. 28, 2013. At the time, I was participating in the Workforce Investment Act, going to school for a Medical Secretary certificate. I am happy to say I have completed it May 2. However, during that time, I lost my apartment, had to go on Food Stamps, and I am two months behind on my car note. Without a car, I can't get a job, and without a job, I can't get on my feet. I have been living place to place; I am homeless.
From Charlotte, North Carolina:
I have had to sell many of my possessions to stay afloat. The state of North Carolina has reduced the number of weeks from 26 weeks to only 19 weeks, and I will receive my last check next week. Why Gov. Pat McCrory has allowed us to only receive 19 weeks is beyond me. People are losing their dignity. I don't know what I will do. I have lost my home and I may lose my car. Surviving on public assistance and Food Stamps is not the American Dream, but you do what you have to do.
From Alton, Illinois:
I am in financial ruin because of...politics. For the first time in 12 years, I am unemployed and 54 years old. I have no income. Funny how that $263 a week kept the lights on and gas in the car. I will continue to seek employment until the lights go out. Will somebody stand up and do the right thing? #renewUI
From Schenectady, New York:
My hardship included losing my vehicle to find work. There were times I had to get food from a food pantry due to lack of my benefits. My power was shut off for 48 hours, and my family had to survive through that.
From San Diego, California:
We are in foreclosure, and no [mortgage] modification is available to us. When I lost my job, we modified and only lowered the payment $54. We have five girls. All of our bills are overdue. I look for work every day, and most days, there are no new postings. I have sent up to triple applications for the same job. I now am constantly depressed and take antidepressants. My biweekly unemployment payment was only $520, but that pays the bills and [for] food. I pray this [extension] passes and becomes law soon.
From Houston, Texas:
I have been forced to sell my jewelry and household items, as well as clothes, shoes, etc. I am running out of things to pay my bills. I am steadily looking for a job but have to do this accordingly because I do not have gas to go looking all day like I used to do. I have to go use the Internet at free wifi places to send out my resumé. I am losing everything and there is nothing I can do about it. Before long, I will not have anything. I have worked all my life, and this was not my choice.
From Bend, Oregon:
I'm unable to meet the daily demands of current bills to keep my credit score up in order to gain employment in my current accounting field. As of Jan. 1, 2014, I exhausted all my 401(k) retirement savings and am now selling my second vehicle to survive and keep up my credit score. I'm one month away from losing everything and am now on Food Stamps. I'm an unhappy Republican facing hard times unexpectedly after over 30 years of continuous employment.
From Philadelphia, Pennsylvania:
I have been living off of my child support payments of $622.00 a month, I have missed mortgage payments, and I cannot afford to send my daughter to summer camp this year. I cannot believe that Boehner is getting his way with this.
From St. Louis, Missouri:
I got behind in my rent and bills. Now I'm homeless. I worked 32 years of my life. I'm not lazy. I'm hard working person and never ask for anything.
From Waterbury, Connecticut:
I got my first real, paying job at the age of 15 and had NEVER been unemployed since then. My last job lasted 13 years. The EUC benefits ended for me in December. I have since depleted my savings and our electricity has been cut off. I am doing everything in my power to keep the home we have lived in for the past 10 years. I go daily looking for employment; unfortunately, at 46, no one is jumping through hoops to bring me, a college degree-holding, dedicated worker on board. I am at my wits' end, trying diligently to [stay] positive while still putting food in my family's stomachs. I have NO help, no welfare, no medical insurance, nothing. Something has to give so people like me don't end up in the street. I'm not feeling sorry for myself, but if I've paid my taxes for 31 years and NEVER been unemployed, why does my family have to suffer?
From Burbank, California:
I was laid off from the Los Angeles Unified School District (reduction in force). Since then, I have been unable to find employment. I'm 52 and have quite a few years of service, so most districts hire people that are less expensive. I have exhausted all my savings, retirement, and everything else I once owned, and I am now staying on the couch at my cousin's house. It is ABSOLUTELY ridiculous that I am in this position, but I have no choice. I have been a lifetime Republican, but after this situation, I am changing parties. Also, everyone I talk to, I will try and convince to do the same. Speaker Boehner's...complete disregard for the situation that others like myself are in is totally inappropriate and insensitive. [M]y hope is that others in the same situation will come out of it one day and live the American life we are accustomed to.
From Memphis, Tennessee:
I am a single mother of two, and I will be evicted in three days, which will leave us homeless. I have lost my car and had to sell most of the items in my house to stay afloat. I have asked for assistance from the state, but there is a backlog and I do not know if they will get to my name in time. I have been searching for a job day in and day out and have not been able to find work.
From Chicago, Illinois:
My department was laid off in July 2012; I had just purchased a home in April 2011. My unemployment benefits expired on Dec. 28, 2013 and since then, it has been an uphill battle to make ends meet. I have exhausted my 401(k) and my recent-year income tax refunds to stay afloat. I've been on 15 interviews in the past year but wasn't given any job offers (potentially because I'm discriminated against because I'm long-term unemployed). In the meantime, I'm facing foreclosure and repossession of my vehicle.
From Spring, Texas:
I had worked for over 23 years with the company that let me go this past October. It was age... I was 70 years old and in good health, always on time, and very seldom sick. As a matter of fact, the company owed me 20 sick days. I have been looking for a job and no luck; with no unemployment coming in, I'm scared. I had always voted for Republicans, but I don't think I will vote for any [more] Republicans as they do not care about us at all.
From Warren, Ohio:
Unemployment benefits allowed me to keep my head above water and make payments on my bills. My regular benefits ended on Dec. 28, 2013 when EUC also ended. What little money I had available to me due to a tax refund helped me get through January and February, but I have not made any payments on my credit cards in three months. My credit rating has been destroyed and my debt increased by over $1,000 due to late payments, and it continues to rise. I have no savings but have been able to survive from paycheck to paycheck for 20 years working. Now when I need help, it is not available. I did just complete schooling that I started three years ago to make myself more marketable. My children are giving me money to survive, keep my phone on, and keep gas in my car to continue looking for a job. I am financially ruined. EUC was in existence since 2008 and unfortunately ended when I needed the help.
From Bothell, Washington:
My husband and I are both over the age of 50 with post-high school educations and on-the-job experience. Our education and experience are in what is referred to as "high-demand" fields (health care and IT). My husband is a veteran, but he is still unable to find employment that pays enough to keep the mortgage or rent paid, let alone health care needs, food, and utilities. We went through our $10,000 in savings and have recently had to dip into one of my retirement accounts to relocate in hopes of earning an income again. We were unable to afford payments on our mortgage-modified home due to our over two years of broken or complete lack of work. I am currently in the worker retraining program, updating my education, but I am concerned that even with this, I will not find work that will be sufficient enough to keep the bills paid. My husband and I are flat broke, and last week was his last week of unemployment. My unemployment is due to end shortly after the July 4th holiday this year.
From Pickens, South Carolina:
I am a single person who has always worked since the age of 16. I find myself unemployed for the 2nd time since 2011. You spend all day, every day on the computer submitting resumés, filling out applications, and doing interviews with no hope of getting a job. With no extensions, how do you pay your bills? They don't stop coming in. You have no job, no unemployment, no money coming in... I am 55 and have no retirement or anything to look forward to.
I was just informed the foreclosure process on my home is going to begin. I am a single mother, and I have nowhere to go but a shelter. I cannot believe I live in America. I have always been employed since I was a teen; I have lived in the middle class, but now am close to poverty. I spend every day working to find a job. The jobs are heavily applied for and the interview process is long. The job opportunities have not come back. The mortgage company is hot to sell my home in foreclosure. I am so upset, depressed, and hopeless. I have signed petitions, e-mailed news media, senators, House Speaker Boehner, and President Obama. I don't know what else to do or say anymore. I never could have imagined this would be allowed to happen to us.
From Baltimore, Maryland:
I can't pay little bills: gas and electric, phone, or car insurance. Also, I am finding it hard to pay my mortgage and I don't want to lose my home. I am in constant fear of that. I don't want my family and myself become homeless. In addition, I am finding it hard to put food on the table (shameful). We need help and we need it quick, fast, and in a hurry!
From Columbus, Indiana:
My husband and I have moved in with my daughter and her husband because of the financial difficulties we are facing. We agreed to pay the utilities and help buy groceries and of course our personal needs. We can barely accomplish this now that they cut off my extension for unemployment. I would like to invite [House Speaker John] Boehner to live in my shoes or any of the other victims of his decision not to bring this to a vote in the House. Furthermore, can our president not do more to see this accomplished? I am very frustrated, and as much as we are struggling, I know there are those out there [who] are losing their homes, cars, utilities, and sanity over this debacle. Why isn't anything being done?
From New York City, New York:
During my unemployment, which was due to downsizing, I went back to school to become a medical assistant. I spent 10 months in school, got my degree, and still have not found a job because no one wants to give someone a job with no on-the-job experience. I have [now started] looking for work in manufacturing, but because I have been out of work so long, I feel that people are afraid to give me a chance. Since December when the [long-term unemployment benefits] ran out, I have exhausted all of my savings and am now just looking for any job that will help me stay afloat 'til I can find something else. It is very hard. I am 52 years old, and I think that plays a part in me not getting hired. I am in a really bad position now because of this.
From Taylors, South Carolina:
I have been unemployed for almost two years now. I had to jump through hoops to get my unemployment. I have lost my car and my credit is ruined. I can't seem to find a job, and I think it has to do with my age (54). I want to go back to school see what I can to do further help me find a job, but I am very discouraged. I have lived a great life up until the last two years. Something has to give. It's not fair for those of us who have been hard workers and honest Americans!
From Las Vegas, Nevada:
The biggest hardship for my wife and me is getting enough money to pay the rent and keep food on the table. My wife and I are both over 70 years old, and at this age, it's very hard to find a job.
From Garden Grove, California:
I lost my car and home; I am staying at a family member's garage. Basically, I lost my life. I find it more difficult finding a job with no phone, access to a computer, or permanent address.
From St. Louis, Missouri:
I lost my job, and my state unemployment benefits ran out at the end of April. Even though I have been actively looking for a job, I have not been able to get even a part-time job at the local mall. I am a degreed professional with doctorate, master's, and bachelor's degrees. The jobs that I am qualified for are few and far between, and the market is very competitive. Employers with lower-paying jobs will not even consider me for employment because they think I am overqualified. I have applied for temporary, part-time, and every type of job you can imagine. The better part of every day is looking and applying for a job. With my unemployment, I was able to scrape by but not able to make my full house payment, so now my house is close to being in foreclosure. Without the unemployment benefits, I am unable to pay any of my bills. I have been awarded food stamps, which help me eat. I am selling as many things as I can just to cover gas and utilities. Soon I will be out of things to sell. I am diabetic and have high blood pressure and a thyroid condition, so I have medicine that I must [take] every day. Soon I will run of my medicines, too. I was also diagnosed with three nodules in my right lung last fall. I was supposed to have a new CAT scan in January to check their growth and to see if they needed to be removed or undergo other treatment. After I lost my job, I lost my insurance, too, so here I sit not knowing if the nodules have spread and become deadly.
From Crossville, Tennessee:
I have not had an unemployment check for over two months. I did get to draw for 26 weeks, which I am grateful for. My elderly mother and my aunt have been helping me get by. If not [for them], I would be bankrupt. My savings account has very little money left in it. I am 61 years old and live in a small town with few jobs available. I am going to have to start drawing Social Security early and take less money, which I didn't want to do. I wanted to work until I was at least 66 or older. The money you receive from unemployment is not nearly enough, but it does help keep the [wolves at bay]. I feel very alone and very scared. I am a single woman [who] is struggling.
From Tiverton, Rhode Island:
I have no income and no money for gas, medicine, or food, and I can't pay my bills. I'm 57 years old, I worked all my life, and I was laid off due to a hospital merger. I've been on several interviews, in person and on the phone, and I'm wishing for a miracle. I've paid taxes since I was a teenager, and this is what I get.
From Roswell, New Mexico:
I have lost my car and my cell phone (the only means of communication for a job). My wife is trying to help out; she is very sickly but works every day, even extra shifts, to help. We have no cell phones now, and the cable is going to be shut off. The lights and credit cards are being lost, as is my life insurance because I couldn't afford it. Please help.
From Monterey, California:
I am a youngish widow with no other income. I worked my entire life raising my children, who are trying to help, two being in college. I can't pay my taxes on [my] unemployment [benefits], state or federal. The electric is going to be shut off this month; my last payment was in December. EUC should be tacked on" a fast-moving train" (a bill that's certain to be passed) and passed!
From Las Vegas, Nevada:
I have lost my house and have since become homeless. It is triple digits out here. I have my car with part of my belongings in it. I've also filed for disability because I got hurt on the job in 2012. I was at least making ends meet before then. Furthermore, I have 20 weeks that I have called in [for benefits]. I only drew for three months; then after Christmas, mine got cut off. Now I'm forced to beg for a roof over my head and have no income coming in at all. My phone will soon be shut off and car insurance will be due. I'm a woman, alone, and scared to death. I had to go to the hospital because I could not breathe, my chest was hurting, and my left arm was feeling weird. I've worked my entire life, paying my way. Now I'm evicted after being in my house for four years, I am starving, and I have no place to go that is safe. Please help us.
From Binghamton, New York:
I lost my job in June of last year due to an injury that I [suffered] while employed at the company where I worked. My doctor took me out of work for one month, and when I came back, I was fired. I signed up for UI and got it, then my claim ran out. I searched for work regularly and kept record of my search, but I still found nothing. Then my extension kicked in. I collected it for two weeks and it ended. That's it. It just ended with no plans to ever start it up again. I still have no job, and my husband is trying to make ends meet without me having money to help out. I am 62 years old, and even though companies are not supposed to discriminate against age, we all know that is not how it is.
From San Diego, California:
I am a 52-year-old African American man. I have worked since I was 15, and I had never been terminated from a position. During 2012, I had three strokes, which changed my ability to do all of the tasks my position required. [In] February 2013, I was terminated from my job of 13 years and I had to apply for unemployment. Since my position was as the executive director in my field, it is difficult to find a job where I'm not "overqualified" or "we can't afford to pay ANYTHING close to what you were making." This causes a lot of stress and worry to anyone! Please help us all, as this is not only hurting us, as individuals, it is also hurting the millions of children associated, too!
From Memphis, Tennessee:
I am homeless. I live from relative to relative. My job is round the clock, placing applications online and sending resumes. My car was repossessed. No buses run in the area where I stay most of the time. I have to walk, ask for rides, or borrow others' cars. I started receiving $188 a month in food stamps in March. I had been denied until then. It wasn't until I could prove that I was homeless that I was approved. I am 44 years old. I am college-educated, have work experience in retail sales, education, industrial settings, health care, floral design, management, etc. No one ever responds.
From Cincinnati, Ohio:
My children and I are homeless. I have gone days without eating. The person we are staying with is about to lose his housing due to issues with his employment.
From St. Augustine, Florida:
After looking for work in the administrative support field with no luck, I signed up with Worksource and started taking classes to become an LPN [licensed practical nurse]. I had six months left in the course when my extended unemployment was taken away from me. I still have to take the NCLEX [National Council Licensure Examination] test and am currently in the "Green Light" program trying to prepare for the test. I have a son who I am responsible for and no child support coming in. We were forced to rent a room with relatives. I was able to give the meager amount that they requested to help with rent and utilities. My son and I are living out of one room, I had to get a car loan with a relative co-signing for me (since mine died and I had no money to fix it), and my tax returns helped but ran out. I have to pay for car insurance, gas to get to and from school, supplies for school for myself and my son, and personal supplies for us (with no money coming in). My credit, which I had worked so hard to make good, is slowly going back down. I have a credit card bill and a storage bill monthly, and I have a summer program for my son to go to so I can look for work, but no funds to pay my part of the summer camp bill. Now I will also have the remaining balance of my school bill to look forward to. There is no relief in sight. If they would allow the retroactive [benefits] to be paid out, it would get me through until I can get a job.
From Arlington, Texas:
In February of 2014, my regular benefits ended. When I called the unemployment office, I was told, "That's it, there's nothing else we can do for you. You can call us back in a year." My rent, electric, water, and bills were all due soon, and I didn't know what to do. I called my family for help but received little to none due to being a gay man in our Southern traditional family. I had no choice but to sell my belongings, including my furniture, TVs, electronic devices, decor, and even my own clothes and shoes to make ends meet. It saddened my heart to see all the things I worked so hard for go in only two months' time. Eventually, I ran out of belongings to sell and was evicted. To this day, I am bouncing from one friend's house to another to have a place to rest my head. I walk on foot everywhere, including interviews due to my car breaking down and having no income to fix it. If it weren't for my monthly food stamps allowance, I would probably have starved already. It is already hard being an openly gay man, so the withdrawal of EUC has only added so much more hurt to my everyday life.
From Brunswick, Ohio:
It was very difficult finding a job after the bank I worked for got purchased by another, and I, along with a few thousand others, lost their jobs. My latest position as a corporate trainer ended after only 13 months due to corporate restructuring. My state benefits ran out in January 2014, and I was confident that Congress would renew the EUC as the economy was and is far from recovered. Sadly, it hasn't happened, and as a single father of four kids, life has become anything but what I have worked 40 years for. My home is in foreclosure, and I have no money to provide for my kids' basic needs. Even looking for work has become difficult with no money for the gas it takes to drive 30 miles for an interview. I don't know how or why the EUC was allowed to expire with so many in need. It isn't a forever program, and it is simply taking longer than 26 weeks for a well-educated, hard-working man like myself to find a job!
From Huntington Beach, California:
I reside with my daughter and nine-year-old grandson, who is a straight-A student as well as an All-Star baseball player. We were served an eviction notice after we paid one-half of the rent, then the management company refused to accept the other half and evicted us after five years of tenancy. We have nowhere to go, so how do we explain this to a thriving young man? We have been struggling for almost a year now, and I have been without unemployment since February and unable to find a job after my previous employer sold out. I have never felt so helpless or hopeless in my whole life.
From Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania:
Ever since I've been out of work, I've been struggling to pay my car note, electric and gas bill, car insurance, etc. My husband has been laid off since last July. My daughter needs uniforms for school and other things. I stress every day about how I can make it work. I have to stay strong for my children. They have extracurricular activities that they want to do, but I cannot afford them!
From Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania:
I am a 45-year-old single woman who lives alone. I support myself and tried desperately to find employment in efforts to keep my apartment. I felt very insignificant because I couldn't support myself or even find a job. I couldn't do waitressing or retail because of an injury to my leg from a previous car accident. The beginning of 2014 came, and I was hopeful that the unemployment extension would take effect. My gas was shut off and also my cable and phone. I took cold showers in the winter and had to borrow my neighbor's phone to contact anyone. I struggled to be able to eat and had to go to the food bank. I was awarded food stamps for one month but then they stopped me from receiving any more, saying that I was overqualified. I was eventually evicted from my apartment and had to live with my sister. I was very depressed and felt inadequate. I tried to commit suicide because I couldn't find work and I no longer had an identity. I have been temping in offices here and there recently, but I still cannot stand on my own two feet. I have been in the workforce for over 30 years and have always been independent. This whole experience has been a blow to my dignity and sense of worth. I know my story isn't as bad as others, but it's probably one of the worst times in my life.
From St. Clair Shores, Michigan:
At age 60, I should be riding the retirement train! Instead, I am currently unemployed with no hope in sight of becoming gainfully employed. At age 58, I decided to reinvent myself by going back to school to receive a certificate as a Legal Secretary. Upon graduating, I found out that you need at least three to five years of experience in order to get your foot in the door for that particular field, so I took a job with a mortgage company, which lasted all of eight months. I needed hip replacement surgery and while I was recuperating, I received a letter from the company telling me that my services were no longer needed. How fair is that to lay someone off in the middle of a major surgery and recovery? I have been on unemployment since May 2013 and have had no luck in finding a job. When filling out applications, I am asked what year I graduated in. That's how employers find out how old you are, so I guess I should lie because who's going to hire a 60-year-old when the competition is so great with the younger applicants? I have applied to so many jobs, taken their assessment tests, answered a zillion questions for jobs with companies like Costco and Home Depot, and still, no one is calling to hire me. As a result of not getting hired, I am now two months behind on my mortgage payments, I send the utility companies partial payments, and I'm just sitting at home waiting for the ax to fall. I dread getting out of bed in the morning because I know what is in store for me. Looking for a job is a full-time job in itself. I am beyond being depressed, disillusioned, and disgusted! I'm so afraid of becoming homeless, and I know that I am so close to that actually happening. At least with unemployment coming in, I was able to sustain some semblance of normalcy. But now that has been taken away, every day and night, I pray to the good Lord above that something good will happen and that our elected officials will pass the unemployment extension, and yet that hasn't happened. I don't know what to do anymore. I feel like I'm running out of options. I did not choose to become unemployed. Therefore, I am urging the federal government to step up to the plate to protect all of us who are searching so desperately for a job and who are one step away from total poverty!
From Arlington, Texas:
I am 60-year-old grandmother of five. I have moved three times since January, am basically homeless at this point, and am now car-less and have no income. I live in a city where there is no public transportation, which really adds to the problem. Although I go on interviews – sometimes two and three for one company – I have not secured a job yet. I am very scared of the future, and I honestly do not know how I would survive if I have to live in the streets. I raised three kids by myself and helped with raising one of my grandchildren up until the summer of 2013. I have worked hard all my life, sometimes two and three jobs to take care of my kids. Please help me.
From Anderson, South Carolina:
I am in jeopardy of losing my home. Even with a Master's degree and steady employment since 1994, I have not been able to find a job. I have not only applied to jobs that require higher education, but minimum wage jobs as well. I have been told I am overqualified for some jobs and that I do not have enough work experience for others. I moved to South Carolina over a year ago with my two children and grandchild, and we are now facing the possibility of being homeless. We have no family here, so there is nowhere to turn.
From Phoenix, Arizona:
I'm 54 years old. I have been working [since I was] 14 years old, [and this was] my first time ever receiving unemployment. It ran out May 6. My savings are now gone. My water got turned off today, my electricity will be next, then the phone and Internet, and I will have no voice. It's 110 degrees daily here; more people die here due to heat in the summer than in NYC in the winter. I now understand why.
From Paola, Kansas:
I have been unemployed since October of 2010. I have lost everything I have worked for in my life. I have had to sell everything I own just to make ends meet, to pay the bills, and to put food on the table. I don't have any savings or retirement left – it's all gone. I lost my unemployment in October of 2012 and haven't had any income at all since then. I am 55, and my 88-year-old father and I live together. We are just surviving on his little Social Security. Since I have been unemployed, my father has been through cancer and heart surgery. I can't afford to get sick because I don't have any health insurance. I have always been an honest, hard-working, ethical person my entire life. I have spent my life always helping people. Now for the first time in my life, I desperately need help and I can't get anyone to give me the time of day. We didn't create this unemployment crisis, and we sure don't deserve to be disrespected and demoralized like we have been. Why are we being punished for something we didn't do?
I'm 61 years old, and since the loss of extended UI benefits, every day has become a struggle. I had to leave my home in Wisconsin and move in with my daughter and her two children. She cannot keep me here much longer or she will be forced to move. I cannot collect Social Security until I am 70 to have enough to live on. Every day, I apply for jobs; I am an educated professional and prior to my job loss worked for 35+ years in my field. I apply for approximately 35 jobs a week, in my field and [out], and I cannot get a nibble. My credit is destroyed. I fear homelessness may be in my future.
From Elk Grove Village, Illinois:
I found work for two months, but before that, I was unemployed for over one year. I've been told I need to work someplace for three months before I'm eligible for unemployment again, but you can't always count on contract jobs lasting as long as they first indicate. And it seems that there are no permanent jobs anymore, only contract jobs with no benefits. I have a disabled husband, and it's been very hard making our money stretch. We now go to the county hospital for our health care, but we're still receiving bills we cannot pay. All of this wouldn't be so bad if I didn't owe over $200,000 for my bachelor's and master's degrees.
From Tallahassee, Florida:
I was laid off from the job that I worked at for three years when I was four months pregnant, and since unemployment benefits have run out, I have no income for my children. There are not many places that want to hire an eight-month pregnant woman, and unfortunately, my family and I are suffering.
From Lynn, Massachusetts:
I'm possibly going to have to [dip] into my retirement money, and my regular savings are almost gone. We might have to sell our home and move our family and children.
From Denver, Colorado:
I lost my job in August 2013. I have been looking ever since with no luck. I held my last job for eight years. My unemployment [benefits] ran out in Mar 2014. I can only imagine what the people who lost their unemployment benefits before me are going through. I am a single mom who has raised two children. I am a very independent person. My daughter is trying to support us. She can pay her student loans. The apartment building that my daughter and I have our apartment in was sold to a property management company. Our lease runs out at the end of June. We asked to stay, but the company wants to do upgrades on the apartment and rent it for more money. We cannot afford the rent increase of $300 a month, so at the end of the month, we will be homeless. We cannot find a new place to live because I don't have a job and cannot help with money. The worst part of all is that my daughter could lose her job if we cannot find someplace to live! We really need the unemployment extension to be passed. If not, you can find us living in our car in the Walmart parking lot!
From Harvest, Alabama:
This has been overwhelming for me. I have had tons of medical bills added to my credit report, and I have gone through my savings trying to keep a roof over my head and food on the table. I need to keep my Internet on so I can continuously send out resumés. I have sent out at least 150 resumés. I have a few interviews, but when people see I made good money in government contracting, they will not hire me. No one wants to waste time training someone and then see them leave for better pay. I have worked since the age of 14, and my UI benefits were cut during sequestration. I never thought I would be up against something like this.
From Palmdale, California:
I spent my retirement savings to pay my bills since losing my unemployment benefits in January 2014. The savings ran out and I borrowed from friends and relatives. Those avenues are exhausted. I received my eviction notice this morning. My cable will be shut off next. My car is up for repossession. I defaulted on my electricity payment arrangements again, and now they won't give me arrangements anymore. My Internet provider keeps calling me, and I know they want to be paid, but I have no more money. Two weeks ago, I got custody of my grandson while my daughter goes to rehab. I have no means to take care of him, but I have to be here for him. I don't have a clue what to do next.
From Baraboo, Wisconsin:
My ex-husband worked for a dealership and was laid off through no fault of his own. Because of this, my support from him ended. I am disabled, my son-in law was also laid off, and my other son-in-law cannot not find a job. On my benefits, I supported the ship. I have now lost my savings, and my ex lost his home. When you're 63 years old, where do you go for the job that paid $23 per hour? We have lost everything.
From West Deptford, New Jersey:
I had to rent out my home of 20+ years, I used my entire 401(k) to keep my home, and I moved in with my son. It is a disgrace that I must beg off my kid.
From Seaton, Illinois:
I feel blessed that I receive $240 in child support a month. However, that will end as soon as [my ex's] unemployment ends at the end of this month. I also receive $340 in food stamps. As a child who grew up on welfare, it is a low blow to be back on it. I have borrowed from everyone I know and sold everything I own. Literally everything: our couch, bed, jewelery, even my grandmother's ring. I owe several months on the house and will most definitely lose it, although I am trying to sell it. I sold my car and learned to drive a five-speed to save on gas. I also get rides as much as possible to save gas. I really hate the pitiful looks I get when I ask. I am happy to make my own laundry detergent and shampoo, and it really is no problem to unplug the water heater unless we need it. I am grateful it is summer or we would most likely be ill. I also made arrangements with the power company to pay the winter bill in addition to my current bill to keep the power on.
From Norfolk, Virginia:
I am 54 years old and have been unemployed for a year. My husband works but does not make enough to cover all of the bills. We are using our credit cards to live on, and pretty soon they will be at their limits and we will have no way to pay them. I have applied for hundreds of jobs, have only been to three interviews, and have not been hired.
From Sedro-Woolley, Washington:
After losing my job and benefits, I had to go through several surgeries for work-related injuries. After several months, it was determined I should not seek employment in the same field (though that was not possible in my area due to plant closures). I went back to college and earned a degree in Business Management. However, my job search for the last year has not yielded results. Since January, I have lived off my remaining disability award, which is now gone. In less than three months, if I do not find work or the EUC is extended, I will lose my home. If and when that happens, it will be next to impossible to look for a place of employment with no address. I will lose the rest of what I have. Please pass this soon.
From Pueblo, Colorado:
After 48 years of working, I was the victim of age discrimination. I am not the only one. Many employers get rid of employees when they reach a certain age, and they know how to get away with it. This is illegal, but it's hopeless to pursue legal action. They dummy up and document a scenario to justify termination, and the only real reason is they don't want older employees after they get what they want out of them.
From Defiance, Ohio:
I'm a widow with two kids in college. I can't pay my bills. I can't pay the utilities. I'm about to be evicted from my house. There is help for electricity, but none for water/sewage/trash. I want a job badly!
From Louisville, Kentucky:
I have NO money to pay my bills and am having to deplete my 401(k), which will affect my retirement. I'm only 54 years old and am scheduled to retire at 70. I hope and pray every day to get a full-time job paying my previous wage. I have been working since I was 17 and have paid into the system. I deserve to have my government protect me and not let me lose everything I have acquired during my years of working. I own my six-year-old car, but it has almost 100,000 miles on it and I don't know how much longer it will last. I was also unemployed in 2007 and received 16 months of unemployment until I finally found another job. I feel I am a victim of age discrimination. This is UNFAIR and INEXCUSABLE, in addition to the House's inability to pass [EUC]!
From San Ysidro, California:
I'm 56 years old. I was laid off from my job as a department manager for a grocery chain because I had two knee surgeries in one year and they could no longer hold my job open. Although I am eligible for re-hire, there are no jobs available in this company that do not require me to stand all day, which I can no longer do. I have sent hundreds of resumes over the past 10 months and had only two interviews; they went in another direction after they learned my age. I've lost my car, my water has been turned off, I am looking at eviction in July, and all other utilities off, as well. I have worked since I was 16 years old; never would I have dreamed that I would be this close to homelessness. Never would I have dreamed I would have to ask my early-20s-aged children for money to buy the simple necessities like toothpaste and toilet paper. It's degrading and humiliating. This is completely upside down: I should be helping them. This is ... no longer the America I grew up in.
From Janesville, Wisconsin:
I am an older lady of 57 years old. I have been laid off for over a year now. Since they cut me off of the unemployment extension, I have been living off of my IRA account. I only have enough to last one more month, and then I am looking at being homeless. I guess I will live in my car then. I have applied at numerous places; I have to apply at four per week to collect unemployment [in Wisconsin], but I do a lot more than that. I am a professional security officer, and no one wants to hire me at these smaller companies because I have too much experience and they don't want to pay me what I am worth. The bigger ones like hospitals and such say I am overqualified, but I believe it is because of my age. I have only been given the chance for three interviews and was overqualified for [all of] them, they said. I am now going out of my experience area and applying at other places, but I get no response from them. I need this extension to stay afloat until someone hires me.
From New Jersey:
I am now eight months pregnant and have been desperately trying to find a job since I was first let go due to lack of work at my company. Unfortunately, no one wants to hire a pregnant woman. I have one week left until my benefits expire, and without the extension, we will literally have no means of income at all.
From Lake Havasu City, Arizona:
Well for one, it's very very hard to pay the utility bills and get groceries. We have used up what we had saved. Now we do not know what to do. The unemployment money is what put food on table and paid the utility bills.
From Akron, Ohio:
My husband was laid off from a very good mold-making career that he planned on retiring from. He went to school for this career, and we thought we had a promising future – not rich, but able to pay our bills and maybe go out to dinner or a movie occasionally. Those hopes all disappeared when [Congress] failed us by not renewing UI in December 2013. I work full time as a licensed practical nurse, but I do not earn enough to pay all of our bills. It has been very difficult. We have medical issues, and health care through my employer is $460 a month with a $5,000 deductible each year, which includes office visits and prescriptions. Needless to say, we have been going without seeing our doctors and [without our] medicine. We had our phone shut off, and we stay about one week [away] from having our car repossessed and our home foreclosed on. I go to work with no food for lunch because the day I get paid, I'm already broke. I can't even afford heartworm or flea medicine for my dogs. I owe everyone in my family money and have no idea how to pay them back.
My husband continues to look for a job, even though I can't afford ink to print resumés for him. He is 58. I never thought age discrimination was real at that age, but it is very real. Without UI, retro [benefits], and maybe some job training, I don't see anything in our future but pain, disappointment, and destitution. It is only a matter of time before we lose our home and car, and my husband's depression scares me. He has worked since he was 14, and he feels completely useless and less of a man. I don't know what to do or where to turn. We need this. Please don't forget us.
From San Diego, California:
I cannot pay my mortgage. I am a first-time home buyer and a single woman with no personal wealth but a 401(k). I am 53 years old now. I was in the middle of getting my Bachelor's degree when the company I worked for closed. I continued on with that, cleaning out my small house to make room for a roommate to live with me and my five cats. I am in IT, learned on the job, so I had to get more technology skills than I was learning in my degree program, so I took extra courses via a state-funded program. Now I still cannot find a job. It seems I am in some sort of zone that employers just won't take a chance on me, like those ball players that keep getting traded: nobody sees the talent that's there, even though I am doing all the work. I have spent seven months studying, going to workshops, applying for jobs, going to job interviews (mostly over the phone), and getting rejections.
From Piscataway, New Jersey:
I have held a full-time job since I was 18 years old. Unfortunately, I was laid off from my construction job in June of 2013 because we completed the project. Normally, I get calls to go on a new job within weeks of a layoff. Well, I made many calls to my union and union brothers, to know avail. I still haven't found a job. I was collecting unemployment, but when it ran out, I applied for the extension. When the extension was stopped in December, my wife had to become the provider. Living on one income with two children is extremely difficult. On a daily basis, we barely have enough money for food. My son plays sports, and taking him to practice and games four or five days a week can be costly.
From Las Vegas, Nevada:
I am fortunate at the moment that I still have some benefits left, but they will be exhausted soon. Over the last three years, I have literally worked any and every job I could to pay the bills. Unemployment benefits [have] been a safety net for me when I didn't make more than my allowed benefit for the filing week. I am on such a tight budget; ten dollars is a lot! I am frightened that, like other people's stories I have read, I am just around the corner from despair. Poverty sucks! I, like others, have paid my taxes and worked my whole life, only to be a poverty-level citizen of this country. It seems we are just statistics, not real people with feelings and integrity. We have become the shadow people.
From Aiken, South Carolina:
I'm probably going to lose my home, my car, as well as the ability to afford medication I have to take to live. This is insane to me. I'm not looking for a handout, just some assistance. I want to work; I have spent the majority of my life (over 25 years of it) employed.
From Douglasville, Georgia:
I was on the fast track at work. I had two great promotions in two years, and then life happened: my adult son suffered massive stroke that rendered him disabled, and he is now paralyzed on his right side. I continued to work a 50-hour week and care for my son with the support of my younger son. Then I got sick in January 2013, and my doctor put me on medical leave through the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA); she said it was to save my life since she knew what I had been facing at work. Upon my return to work in April 2013, I was yelled at, insulted, and berated by my manager, and I was told that maybe I could not do the job anymore because of my "situation" (my disabled son). Prior to my FMLA leave, they made it increasingly difficult for me to take my son to his doctor and rehab appointments, which were critical at that time. I informed HR about my predicament, and they assured me that they would contact my manager and that I would be able to make those doctor appointments. In May 2013, I lost my job. My son gets depressed; he blames himself for my job loss. He says that if it were not for his stroke, I would not have to beg for help. But I will not place my son in a nursing home; I am all he has.
Before my unemployment benefits expired, we were already having a tough time making ends meet. I did a voluntary repossession on my vehicle with only nine months left until complete payoff. I have had to seek help from several organizations in my county in order to pay my rent and utilities. I have never had to beg in order to live, and I have been humbled in so many ways. I am 54 years old, and I know that has been a factor in why I am still unemployed. I want to be self-sufficient, to hold my head high, to buy my own groceries, to look my son in the face and not lie to him when I say everything is going to be okay and we will not be homeless. I have been so depressed and scared waiting on Congress to do what is right. I have $2 in my bank account, and I am in financial ruin. I am an only child and both my parents are deceased, so we are alone.
From Egg Harbor City, New Jersey:
My hardships are basically the same as most: I am 58 years old, and I have been trying to find employment for a year with no success. I live in New Jersey and have applied for jobs as far away as North Carolina in my field. With my unemployment [benefits], I could have made the move and stayed with family. Now that's not possible. I am left without money to buy the basics (toilet paper, toothpaste, soap, etc.), I don't eat every day because when I get a few dollars from friends and family I make it stretch as far as I can. And when I don't eat, I can't take my insulin. My family keeps my phone on so I can communicate in case of an emergency. I have no lights now, I have no cable, and my water will be turned off in two weeks if I don't come up with the money to pay for it. What foods I have are kept in a cooler on ice.
From La Crescenta, California:
I am an artist in the animation industry. I was laid off from Fox TV Animation in November 2012 due to staff cutbacks. I had been working on the show Family Guy for 8 1/2 years. I work very hard and am a loyal employee and am also a member of the Animation Union, Local 839. I look for work every day and have looked for work outside my industry, with no luck. I'm told I am overqualified. As I look for work, I am also learning new programs and skills. Unfortunately, production crews are smaller, and many jobs have been sent to other countries like Canada, Ireland, and India. Millions of Americans need their extended unemployment with retro to buy food, pay bills, and buy gas to look for work. We are not freeloaders or lazy. We are hard-working, tax-paying, and voting American citizens who need a helping hand to get our next job. Thank you for listening.
From Chicago, Illinois:
I will have no income in July. I need to pay rent, gas, lights, cable, and my phone because I need these things to stay on. I worked for 22 years, and I never thought things were going be this rough. It's hard out here trying to find a job. Please, we need extended unemployment benefits because 26 weeks is not long enough to find a job.
From Henderson, Nevada:
I have not received an unemployment check since January 2014. I have nothing left to sell, and now I need to move. I have no money to move with or to set up a new residence. I have applied to over 50 locations, and I have not received an offer for employment. Please help us. I am begging you...help the voting, tax-paying citizens.
From Virginia Beach, Virginia:
My husband was laid off 4 years ago. He was working for a boat engine manufacturer. Once diesel prices went sky high, the pleasure craft sales went downhill. He was at this company for 13 years. He was laid off for seven months. Next it was my turn: I worked for a company for 7.5 years, and I was let go on May 1, 2013. I collected unemployment insurance up until Dec. 28, 2013. I have been with out money to help pay my portion of the bills. I have collectors calling me now because my home equity loan is past due, possibly facing foreclosure in the near future unless I find a job! I have been going to St. Leo University and trying to finish my Bachelor's degree in Computer Information Science and Information Security. I have activated my student loans in order to pay for my college so I wouldn't have to burden my 82-year-old mother for each semester's tuition (every 8 weeks).
Since December, I have had a small handful of interviews, and I have been one of the top three candidates, but someone else always beats me out because of one more skill or title they have and I don't. I send out 50-100 resumes a week hoping to hear from someone; however, all I get are bill collectors contacting me. My husband and I had pristine credit scores (800+) until this happened to us. Now, if I try to go ahead and refinance my mortgage or 2nd mortgage, I cannot because I have my student loans on my credit and many late payments because we can't pay our bills. I cannot get a job right now because of that, as well.
From New York, New York:
I lost my job last year and begin to look for work. It has been hard because I have a mother I take care of who's in the last stages of heart disease. She is 68 and is the best mom in the world. I've never applied for any kind of assistance except unemployment. After Dec. 28, 2013, I was unable to look for work or buy food. I can no longer pay for the insurance for my car or get to job interviews. It's hard trying to borrow or beg someone to get to an interview on time. I go to free wi-fi places to complete online applications, but I can't get to the locations. I have no gas in my home, so I can no longer take care of my mom when she gets out of the hospital. My dad passed away two years ago, so I have no family to help and it seems no one in our government cares. Praying each day is starting to wear thin on me. I feel like things would be better if I wasn't here because I'm losing everything that I've worked for. Please help us so we can help ourselves. Restore UI with retro!
From Copperas Cove, Texas:
I haven't had any unemployment assistance or any financial assistance of the sort since December 2013. I can barely afford my rent, and having any type of transportation in the form of a car or public transportation is too expensive for me. I am currently enrolled in college and am a veteran of the United States Army. While the education may help, at the rate I have been applying (hundreds of applications a month) versus the rate of rejection, I do not think the outlook is good. I fear this situation may become very bad for me. I have spent all of my savings and up until a month or two ago, I did not even have my own place to live. I only hope that the government stops bickering and decides to help those who cannot help themselves.
From Los Angeles, California:
I have worked since I was 14. I have a Master's degree and had worked for the same organization For 15 years. After a company refocus, they decided to "eliminate" my job along with many others who had been there a while. It was a slow process of stripping me of my dignity. I became severely depressed as I found out my job was given to a much younger, less qualified person. My unemployment [benefits] ended one month ago. I am lucky that I have my husband; otherwise, I would be homeless. It truly is disheartening that anyone over 50 in this country is seen as disposable in the work force.
From Schiller Park, Illinois:
I am having a hard time finding a job. I will be 56 in less than two months. I won't be able to pay my rent. I have applied for dozens of jobs with no call-backs or e-mails.
From Penn Yan, New York:
I am 55 years old and support my 16-year-old daughter. Since my extended benefits were cut off, I have used my entire savings, retirement and, income tax return to keep up with my bills. It has been suggested that as an older job applicant, I should wear clothing and a hairstyle that are up-to-date to compete with younger applicants. I haven't been able to get a haircut for almost a year now and have no money for clothing for myself. I have a BS degree in business management but have a gap in my work history because I took several years off to care for my elderly father. It does not seem to matter that I have raised two children and put myself through college. I am smart and ambitious, and I spend hours every day searching and applying for jobs in my area. I record every application and continue to sign up for UI every week. I had to file a new claim and was told by the DOL representative that if Congress passes EUC, I will again get weekly checks. He seemed hopeful, but I no longer am. If not for friends helping me with bills, my daughter and I would be homeless.
My daughter qualifies for the WIA summer youth program and will be able to work for six weeks at minimum wage for 21 hours each week. Thank God, because I have no money to purchase school supplies or clothes for her for the upcoming school year, but I am ashamed that I now have to rely on my 16 year old for grocery money.
I live in a rural community with no public transportation. My car is 10 years old, and I can no longer drive it because the brakes are gone and I have no money for repairs. I was just offered an interview at a nearby town but have no transportation there. I have worked and paid taxes since I was 15 years old. I have voted in every election since I was 18. I feel totally let down by my elected officials who are supposed to work for me and that I helped elect. I desperately need extended UI with retro payments to continue to search for work and survive until I find a job.
From Walton, Kentucky:
I am 46 years old and I live in Kentucky, where my elected representatives think it is not up to them to bring jobs to our state or to help those us who are out of unemployment funds and have lost everything: our cars, our homes, and we can't even afford to get gas to find a job. I have been in the workforce all my life. I worked on the tobacco farms when I was a little girl, and when I was 13, I got a job working at school through a program called the JTPA that paid me to be a teacher's aid one hour a day. I was let go from my [most recent] job after I was hurt. When I was let go, my husband was already on unemployment, and he was filling out applications every day. When his unemployment stopped in December, it still took him until the middle of February to get a job, and he took a huge pay cut.
I had to sell my car to keep the heat on. We can't afford to go to the grocery store and get food like we should; we live on sandwiches. We are getting ready to lose our home because our landlord is going to sell it, and we can't afford to move. I live in a rural area where the bus does not run. I have reached out to every agency I can think of, and no one has the funding to help us because we do not have small children. I now have panic attacks to the extent that I have had to go to the emergency room, which we can't afford the bill for because I cannot afford health insurance. I feel like we, as hard working Americans, have been left behind.
From Torrance, California:
I apply to about 20 jobs online daily and get maybe one call a month for an interview. When you get an interview with a 21-year-old manager, and you are 51 years old, all they say to you is, we will let you know in a day or two. They never call you back, and yet the Congress thinks that we are too lazy to find a job. My UI benefits were cut off in December 2013, and my car was repossessed. I moved in with my boyfriend, who saved me from being homeless. I have not been able to pay any of my bills since then. My credit is bad, and I have no money to help me find a job. I have been working for 30 years and paid taxes. And now [Congress is proposing] to not pay us retro on UI and will make more people's lives miserable. I guess they won't really know what we are going through until it happens to one of them in the future. Unbelievable...that is all I can say.
From Dallas, Texas:
I have no way to pay for my phone, Internet, mortgage, or utilities. Family members cannot afford to help any longer. I have kids who are 14 and 13. I don't want to lose them to the streets. Leaving the house to making minimum wage at part-time hours would leave my kids unattended, which would trickle down to crime. I am overqualified and have sent out countless resumes. My confidence is shot, and I am all tapped out. I can't buy cheap toilet paper any more, soap to wash clothes, and so on.
From Orland Park, Illinois:
I have applied to hundreds of job postings, from which I have had only three interviews and never heard back. One interviewer even asked me if I had any health problems! I have been in the workforce since I was 18 years old; I am now 47 and lost in this "black hole" of unemployment. Since my benefits were cut, I don't know how I will pay for my son's school fees and graduation fees this year.
From Bergenfield, New Jersey:
My husband lost his job on Dec. 26, 2013, a day before we found out we are expecting our second child. I graduated from a four-year nursing school in May 2012, but I have been unable to find a nursing job and was working part time at a microbiology lab. As soon as he lost his job, I had to work full time to get health benefits and make little bit more money. However, even working full-time, most of my money goes to paying for health benefits. When my husband started getting unemployment checks, we were able to make ends meet by paying for basic needs. We have been ignoring all our credit card debts, and my student loans are all in deferral. I don't know how we will be able to pay all the debt we owe, but that's secondary to our basic needs. On June 30, my husband's unemployment benefits expired, and he still has no job! I am expecting to give birth in one month, so I can't get a second job and he still has no work. How do we survive now? How will we pay for rent and food and all the hospital bills and all our other bills now?
From St. Clair Shores, Michigan:
It has been 14 months since I lost my job at a mortgage company through no fault of my own. I needed an emergency hip replacement and had gotten the necessary clearance to go on a six-week leave of absence. After a month, I received a FedEx letter stating that my services were no longer needed, and I was put on a layoff. In Michigan, our governor cut unemployment from 26 to 20 weeks, which runs out quickly. I was able to draw from Tier Two for a few weeks until that day in December when all [emergency] unemployment insurance was cut for so many who desperately needed that money in order to sustain some semblance of normalcy. It helped to put food on the table and gas in the car to go on potential interviews, as well as pay for some bills.
Since the cutoff, my husband has lost his job and we have been unable to pay our bills. I am now months behind and so afraid to get my mail for fear of the dreaded shut-off notices. I spend hours on the computer looking and applying for jobs. I must have 1,000 resumés floating around the black hole. I have gone on a few promising interviews, only to hear NOTHING! It is so disheartening and depressing because I know I'm being discriminated against because of my age. I applied for a job on CareerBuilder on July 7 and was able to look at the competition. Six hundred seventy-one other people applied for that same position. So now, Mr. Speaker of the House, you tell me, what am I supposed to do with all these people applying? How am I going to get a job when there are so many who are in the same position? Here in Michigan, things are not good for the long-term unemployed. I am trying so hard to become gainfully employed, yet no one will give me a shot. I have even offered my services for free for a week to see if I'm a match for the position, and that hasn't worked. I'm at my wits' end and do not know what else to do. Like the over 3 million other people who are suffering, it is now time to for Congress to step up to the plate and renew unemployment insurance.
From Reno, Nevada:
I lost my job in November 2013, just a month before extended UI lapsed for the nation. I had 26 weeks, which would carry me to May 6, 2014. That time has now passed, and it is the middle of July. I have been without any income since May, and as many of you may know, Nevada is number two of the hardest-hit states for unemployment. I am 58 and have been a blue-collar worker all of my life. I started working at nine years of age painting house numbers on curbs. Later, I joined the Navy and went to Vietnam to serve my country. I have held only three jobs since leaving the Navy, all very long-term, and have gladly worked hard for all these years. Now I find myself unemployed. With no college degree but 30-some years in the telecommunications industry, I can find no work. I send resumé after resumé, all to no avail. So, here I am at an age when I should be thinking about retiring, desperately trying to find a job. I have used my savings, I have sold my car, I have sold many of my possessions. I have turned off what utilities I can. I'm seeking a court injunction to try and save my home. I have no family, my parents are dead, and my children cannot help. I'm totally by myself. Yet Congress, which has the power to extend UI benefits, sits on their [hands] doing absolutely nothing at all. If [Speaker John Boehner] was out in the cold or heat, with no food, no transportation, nothing, I wonder how fast UI benefits would be restored.
From Harbor City, California:
I lost my job of 26 years (I've worked for over 30), then my UI expired on Dec. 28, 2013, leaving my husband's job as our only income...until he lost his job in February. We lost our home, our car, even our family pets. We had to give up our dogs and cats when we became homeless. We now live in a shelter with our three sons. We never needed to rely on anybody else like this before.
From Clearwater, Florida:
My last [unemployment] check was in June 2014. I have been going on job interviews two or three times a week and have not been hired yet. I know I will I just need a little more time and need EUC for a few more months to keep from losing everything I have worked for all my life!
From Walton, Kentucky:
Hello. I live in Walton, Kentucky. In November 2012, my husband lost his job and went on unemployment. He looked for a job every day and sent out resumés online. He was a carpenter and built houses, and he had no luck finding work. We were doing OK making ends meet, as I was working 70 hours a week for a manufacturing company until I got hurt. I was fired in June 2013 because I was unable to perform my job after my injury. I also went on unemployment, but being 46 years young and with work restrictions, it makes it hard to find a job even as a cashier or someone working the drive-up window at the fast food places. I have worked all my life. From the time I was eight, I worked in the tobacco fields and barns. I have done transit jobs and have even been a manager at a store. But nowadays, it just seems that all they want is the younger ones. My husband has found work after going through temp agencies for three months, but he only makes $10 an hour. We can't afford for him to put me on his insurance at work.
I have health issues that I cannot afford to go see a doctor for, and I can't pay for the medication. I suffer with panic attacks and no longer go out of my house. It is a nightmare just to go to the grocery store; my daughter goes with me in case I have to go outside. I keep all the windows closed and the blinds shut in my house. We have had to sell my car and a lot of our furniture just to keep afloat. Our landlord is going to put our house up for sale next month, and I don't know what we are going to do. I feel like I am drowning and someone is holding me under.
I lost my unemployment in the first week of February 2014 and never got the chance for the extension, like so many others who are in the same boat as us. I just don't know how much more I can take. It has put a strain on our marriage and my relationship with our kids. Please, I pray everyday that they pass the extension, not just for me but for everyone out there who is suffering. We as Americans are being held hostage by a man who has let the power of office go to his head. I beg you, please help us before it is too late!
From Port Saint Lucie, Florida:
As a 57-year-old long-term unemployed American, I find myself in the same situation as 3 million more and counting. This is the second time in four years I find myself diligently seeking employment. I have exhausted all savings, including my 401(k), and the patience and pockets of good friends and family. The State of Florida has reduced "regular" UI benefits to just 16 weeks! The amount of weeks you are eligible to claim is based on the unemployment rate at the time you file. This is absurd because we all know the numbers do not accurately reflect those of us whose UI benefits have ended but are still looking for work! Foreclosure, loss of car, no insurance, no utilities and necessities, and homelessness are all disasters we face immediately if no extended benefits with retroactive weeks are approved. The retroactive payments would not sit in a savings account but would be used to pay the mortgage company, make car payments, and keep the electricity on. We are desperate for immediate help, the same help we have given for many, many years as hard-working, tax-paying American citizens.
From Frankfort, Illinois:
I have one child. When benefits were cut back, we lost our apartment and now live with my boyfriend. He is charging us a small amount of rent, not unreasonable, and I have exhausted my savings and help from family and am unable to pay him. I'm about to lose my car. I have to keep the cell phone on for employers to contact me. I have to keep court-ordered life insurance. I have a $700 per month student loan payment that was $540 before I was laid off in 2008 and didn't work for 1.5 years. All of my family lives out of state, but the courts will not allow me to relocate with my son. I'm stuck here. We just applied for food stamps and Medicaid, for the first time in my life. I was previously making close to $90,000 a year! Jobs are still hard to find if you have been unemployed for more than a short time. I've been looking now for another 1.5 years! We still need help out here!
From Las Vegas, Nevada:
Since Dec. 28, 2013, I have lost my home and almost lost my car (my family helped me pay it off). I am homeless, now living in a bus/RV with mosquitoes and an outhouse to go to in the morning. I survive on one meal a day! In March, I turned 62, so I took retirement, but I still need to work. I am a Vietnam vet, went to college, and I was an IBM ISERIES administrator, but I cannot find a job.
From Naugatuck, Connecticut:
I had no income and a kid in college. I was forced to go on Social Security at a lower amount because I have a mortgage and responsibilities. I have taken a part-time job at $8.50 an hour after working for the same company at $20.00 an hour. We're still trying to get our finances in order, and my wife is working a lot of extra hours to keep us afloat.
From North Port, Florida:
I have used up the last of the reserves that I thought would tide me over until I could find a self-supporting job. I am 56 years old and am facing age discrimination at every turn. I cannot count the applications I have completed, but I've had only a handful of interviews and met with opposition from employers. If I do not receive extended unemployment benefits, I will lose my home and all the possessions I have worked for since I was 16 years old. Just that little bit of help will keep me hanging on a bit longer, and we all need to buy time right now in hopes of that job to come along. I have never been let go from any job; this is the first time in my life that I have been laid off. While I was employed, I never thought the job market was as bad as it is. Until you are placed in this dire circumstance, you don't realize all the devastating emotions that also come along with this. Please remember all of us. I am a mother and grandmother who will not be able to have any more family gatherings for special occasions and holidays because there will no longer be any home for my family to gather in.
From Harlan, Kentucky:
I was laid off from the coal mines in October 2013, and my benefits ran out in April 2014. I was taking care of my mother, who has Alzheimer's. Now she has gone to a nursing home, and I am homeless with two daughters. This was the only home I knew, and now it is gone. My kids will be starting school soon, and I'm afraid I will have to give them up to Social Services because there are no shelters here to stay in. I am a 16-year veteran of the U.S. Army. I am not a criminal, nor will I ever stoop to that level. I still have faith in the country I fought for in Iraq and Afghanistan, but now hope is fading because there are no jobs here, especially for a 44-year-old man.
From Phillipsburg, Missouri:
I lost a great job where I made over $40,000 a year. We are about to lose our home. We have already lost our vehicle, which we surrendered to the loan company. I am 66 years old with some physical issues, which employers are using to prejudge me. I keep trying to find work. We have a hard time buying groceries and paying utilities. It's hovering around 100 degrees, but we don't dare use the air conditioner. It's seems hopeless.
From Las Vegas, Nevada:
My 70-year-old mother and I are looking at being homeless, possibly at the end of August when my benefits will end. I look for a job every day! Living in Las Vegas is tough; for every job opening, there are 100 [people] who apply, it seems. Unemployment benefits are a lifeline to me so I can keep searching for work. I am not lazy and a freeloader. I want to work, but when they don't extend these benefits, we that lose them fall [through] the cracks.
From Manalapan, New Jersey:
After a year of searching for jobs and assistance, I am facing eviction and I am responsible for two dependents. I have obtained unemployment, help from churches, and after fighting for a year, I finally obtained food stamps. I returned to school, hoping it would aid in my job search, but I cannot get an interview. I am going to be homeless with my children because there are no support programs in the community. Most services out there will only help you if you have a job. I can't even get a job to be able to get the help. This is a very mentally and emotionally draining process.
From Canton, Ohio:
My unemployment benefits ran out on April 12, 2014. I had saved money from my income tax refund, for I knew harder times would hit. I kept up with my rent, utilities, car insurance, cable, and Internet for looking for work, and my prepaid cell phone. I am 58 years old and a single mother of three grown children who have left the home. I managed to make it to the second week and June, and then I slowly depleted the rest of my savings. I had to apply for welfare to get food stamps, and I finally got a medical card. I had no income for the month of July, and everything is due. I am facing eviction and pretty soon my cable and Internet will be cut off, as well as my cell phone. I have gone to several social service agencies and I am being told that I must have income in order to get help with my rent. I was so hurt, embarrassed, humiliated, angry, frustrated, and depressed. I am a woman of faith, but my faith is being tested. I have nowhere to get help, nor do I have anyone I can live with. I pray that Boehner will put the extension to a vote. I and so many others are suffering, and we live here in America. Please [renew] the unemployment extension so we can take care of basic needs. We want to work, but how can we without money, gas, a car, car insurance (which I couldn't afford any more)? Please help us all.
From Margate, Florida:
I've been out of work almost a year. It took [the state agency] three months to approve me due to the state starting a new system. After the fight with that, I lost benefits in February 2014, and I've had no money come in at all. I'm behind on my house payments, as well as my car and electric bill. I have had little to no help. I went through my whole savings and am now down to $4.00. I worked for 12 years at same job, and now I have to go to food banks and yard sales for things. I've sold all my jewelry and stopped doing anything remotely for myself as far as haircuts, food, or clothing. I have no money for gas or ways to buy stuff and need my back pay soon. I just got a letter today that the bank will start forclosing on my home soon if I don't pay the balance. I am at my end bottom of my rope. I need help, and I thought our country was here to help us, not hurt us. I am begging for help to start up all long-term unemployment benefits before we lose what we have left.
From Orange, California:
I worked for a company for 13 years, and it closed it 2007. It took me three years to find a new full time job. I was once again laid off in 2013 due to budget cuts. We have since run out of unemployment. I have two small children and a wife who is partially disabled and works part time. We lost our house and now all live in a studio apartment. If it takes three years for me to find full-time work again, we will all be homeless. An unemployment extension is our only hope.
From Folcroft, Pennsylvania:
I am over 55 and am finding difficulty landing a job. Every job opening is overwhelmed with applicants, like a cattle call. I have training, but the sequester has prevented hiring for my job certification. Financially, I am up to my nose in debt. This has put an enormous strain on my relationship with my fiancé, but I am still hopeful.
From Hot Springs, Arkansas:
My benefits are two payments away from expiring, and I have not been able to find work since I was laid off at the end of January when my employer, Summit Bank, was sold to Bank of the Ozarks. I was not offered any new position and was put out with nothing but six months of benefits to support me while I searched for a new job.
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