On December 28th, 2013 1.3 million unemployed people lost their Emergency Unemployment Compensation (EUC) benefits because Congress failed to extend this important program before adjourning for their winter vacation. The unemployment rate for women remains high at 6.2%.
Below you will find the stories of two women, Lynn and Yolanda, who lost their unemployment benefits at the end of December. We hope that our nation's leaders will hear their voices and extend unemployment benefits as soon as possible!
Yolanda's (from St. Petersburg, FL) story:
So I get this letter in the mail saying that unemployment will end on Dec 28th. I got laid off in June. It took the state over 4 months to approve my claim, as I looked for work. Then, a so-called new system was implemented and threw out ALL of the claims, so everyone had to RE-file!!! Now, I'm STILL waiting on that process, only to be told that benefits will suspend PERMANENTLY, on Dec 28, no matter what you're owed. So, here I am, a veteran with a degree and over 10 years experience, about to be on my ass because I went through a divorce and have no money. When and if I do get funds, it'll be just enough to cover the mountains of bills I'm already behind in.
Before I got laid off, I was working as a marketing assistant for a local cruise line. Despite the steep pay cut, I was determined to work. But after budget cuts and reduced hours, I knew it was just a matter of time, since the company was fairly new (less than one year in operation) and since we hadn't made the profits expected during that quarter. With cancellations, inclement weather and reduced attendance, things weren't that great financially.
My search has been continuous in the job market, but no serious bites. I do interview occasionally, but I'm told that I'm over qualified many times. Things are different here in Florida.
These days my biggest concerns are not being on the streets! I've been blessed to have gracious bill collectors. I thank God every chance I get because it's nothing short of a miracle that I have warm shelter and lights! I have no problem paying what I owe, when and if I do get it, but WHEN?!!! By the time I do get benefits, I owe so much, most of it is playing catch-up on overdue bills!
Lynn's (from Houston, TX) story:
I am unemployed and was receiving unemployment benefits since June 2013 when all of sudden I was cut off December 28th, 2013. I received 1 week instead of the usual 2 weeks. I am a licensed voc. nurse. My most recent position was at Texas Treatment Center, where I admitted patients that are addicted to opiates. I got laid off in June 2013. I have worked in a clinic in the I.M. Department under infections disease doctors for thirteen years. I am thinking that employers may be thinking I’m too old or too experienced and don’t want to pay what I’m worth. But that is so far from the truth. I will work for the beginning salary for a LVN. I’ve applied for jobs…at least two a day, but get no call backs. I’m signed up with nursing agencies and Monster.com. But I’m hoping someone will call me to come to work soon. I don’t know how some people enjoy sitting at home daily. It’s not for me.
I can’t buy food, pay my bills or buy gas for my car to go on job interviews. I have worked all my life—25 years. This is how I get payback? I still have to work. I have been having visions of being homeless, but I have been praying to the Lord to take care of me as he promised. I do believe the Lord will make a way somehow.
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/