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Teresa Rey's picture

I was laid off from my job about three months ago. Unemployment today is unlike anything I have experienced in my lifetime. First of all, it was completely unexpected. Another major adjustment was to get used to a check of $494 biweekly and $25 worth of food stamps per month. Unfortunately, since I can’t be legally married to my partner and a legal stepmother to her two children in Florida, we don’t count as a family. If we did, the food stamp amount would be different.

Another issue that I have come across is that the cost of COBRA health insurance is almost as much as one of the unemployment checks.  Therefore, I had to pass on it. So, I am just praying that nothing negative happens, such as a slip and fall, a vehicle accident, or worse.

Times are tough. We had to go to a food bank the other day in order to have enough food in the house. As far as the kids, we would love to take them to a movie or out to dinner. We both know that this is currently unfeasible.  The kids seem to understand and don’t ask to go, but I can see the desire in their faces when we go past the mall or a restaurant. But, I am very grateful for the unemployment that I am currently receiving. Without an unemployment check, the power and phone wouldn’t get paid.

Also, everyday items such as toilet paper, toothpaste, and clothing would be difficult to attain. Families would go to extreme measures such as panhandling or even illegal activities to stay afloat. The unemployment rate in my area is high and jobs are hard to come by, but I have faith that things will get better.

"Tigger" lives in Tampa, Florida, with her partner and two children ages 12 and 10.

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