Last year, Congress went down to the wire before extending federal unemployment compensation leaving millions of people wondering whether they would continue to receive benefits.
I had hoped this year would be different and that it wouldn't be politics as usual. It isn't. In fact, it's even worse because everyone collecting federal benefits will stop, abruptly, on December 29 rather than finishing the tier of benefits they are collecting. Plus, benefits for the long-term unemployed were already cut when the last extension was passed.
Politicians can discuss tax breaks for those making $250,000 a year or a million dollars a year like it's no big deal. But, what about the people who are making nothing and who have no idea where what they will do in 10 short days if unemployment is left to expire? It's not a question of having Christmas for the kids, it's how am I going to pay my rent and where am I going to live?
Here's what it's like for just a few of the unemployed workers who have shared their stories and commented on blog posts:
Dear Santa: All I want for Christmas is a Job. If that is too hard to arrange from one of the 558 applications I have filled out, then please give me a federal unemployment extension.
I'm preparing to be homeless this Christmas by selling and saving what I can to survive in the woods.
I'm in a panic trying to figure out what to do to have a place over my head. It's NEVER been this hard to find work.
I have never used unemployment in the 35 years l have worked... now at 49 my extension will end and l don't have any other income.
The National Employment Law Project (NELP), along with Representatives Sander Levin (D-MI) and Lloyd Doggett (D-TX), Senator Jack Reed (D-RI) and unemployed workers pleaded with Congress to renew federal unemployment insurance at a press conference yesterday. In addition, over 63,000 messages have been sent to Congress asking them to save millions of unemployed workers from running out of benefits. Here's how to send a message to ask Congress to do the right thing: Renew Unemployment for 2013
Share Your Story: Unemployment Stories
Image Copyright Mike Doyle