Voices of the Unemployed: Part 11
Yesterday members of the House of Representatives tried to hold a hearing where the stories of unemployed workers would be highlighted. Instead, House Leadership wouldn't make a room available for these workers to hold their hearing, so instead they spoke from the steps of the Capitol. The stories told on the Capitol steps were similar to the ones you will read below.
It has now been over four months since millions of unemployed people lost their unemployment insurance benefits. We continue to share the Voices of the Unemployed since we think it is important that the media, elected officials, and the public realize that these families are still struggling to make ends meet. Below you will hear from two moms that were lucky enough to have unemployment insurance available to them during a tough economic time.
If you are interested in sharing your story and thoughts on unemployment with MomsRising (and possibly having your experience posted on this blog) please go here: https://www.momsrising.org/member_stories/topic/unemployment-stories/.
Nadra's (from North Hollywood, CA) story:
I lost my job while pregnant and we decided just to cut back and I would stay at home with our new daughter. When my daughter was 6 months old my husband lost his job. Neither of us were working, we had a new baby, mortgage, everything.
Fortunately we did have some savings because the unemployment only covered our mortgage. We were grateful to have that because we would have run through our savings twice as fast and might not have made it the 6 months it took my husband to find a job.
I also had to look for work because we started to get nervous wondering how long it would take him to find a job.
I know for many it has been taking a long time to find a job. So if you have no unemployment, and you've probably run out of your savings, then you have nothing. And you can't look for a job if you have no money. In addition to your basic bills, you need gas, money for office expenses, networking expenses, interview clothing, etc.
If we cut this money off for the long-term unemployed their chances of finding a job will be even less.
Lea's (from Chicago, IL) story:
When the economy collapsed, I was pregnant with twins. I had left my job to take care of my husband when he was diagnosed with cancer, and although he had recovered and gone back to work, I hadn't yet found another job. The economy collapsed, and his company let nearly everyone go. My pregnancy was complicated and dangerous, and my husband still needed regular MRIs and daily medications for his cancer. And then we had preemie twins. Every month Congress argued about whether or not to extend unemployment, and every month we had no idea what we would do without it. Nobody was hiring, and as soon as our benefits expired we would lose everything. We were lucky, my husband found another job before his benefits ran out. But barely. I am STILL looking for employment.
I wouldn't wish the experience of having infant twins and not knowing if the next month would suddenly see an end to all your income. It's harrowing, and terrifying, and humiliating to be at the mercy of Congress to keep your family safe and secure.
[You can find more about Lea's story on her blog, Becoming Super Mommy.]
Please make sure to check out the other parts of this series: