Rep. Sandy Levin: Share Your Unemployment Story
In the 12 days since Ways and Means Democrats launched the eCall to Extend Unemployment Insurance – a web site devoted to gathering stories of the unemployed – nearly 400 people have chronicled their experience looking for work. Their sobering stories offer a glimpse into the lives of the 14 million unemployed Americans and illustrate in no uncertain terms the urgent need for Congress to preserve federal unemployment insurance through 2012. Congress has never failed to renew the programs with the unemployment rate close to where it is today – 9 percent. “I am by no means unintelligent. I am by no means lazy. And I am by no means giving up,” wrote Phil of Clinton Township, Mich. That kind resolve was reflected throughout the stories Americans shared. So too was the importance unemployment insurance has played in keeping food on the table. “Unemployment Insurance has been crucial in my survival, it has literally kept me alive,” wrote Benjamin of Los Angeles. He said he felt empathy for those who, unlike him, have children to care for while they are unemployed. Nina of Minneapolis, Minn., a married mother of three children (plus a dog and two cats) wrote that she has applied for “everything” in her quest to find work. “No luck,” she wrote. “I cannot afford to go back to school and start over and nobody would hire someone my age by the time I would get out of school.” Nina said her husband’s work hours have been cut back and he is working part-time in a separate job as a result. “If I lose the rest of my extension we will have to apply for welfare if I don’t get a real job,” she wrote. There are fewer than seven weeks until the federal UI programs begin to expire, leaving more than two million Americans cut off of benefits by early February and six million by the end of next year. Follow the effort to preserve these vital benefits by liking the below Facebook page , where we post daily progress reports and highlight key news as the deadline approaches.