Are You a 99er? Unemployment Benefits Are Over, What to Do?

99erOn Wednesday, June 30, the United States Senate rejected a bill that would extend the expired unemployment benefits that have been keeping approximately 1.2 million unemployed Americans afloat. Known as "99ers" (which refers to those who have received 99 weeks of unemployment checks), many are desperate to work, but cannot find a job. Here are two real-life stories, direct from to Americans in that dire situation.

My Job Search Continues

The Senate Republicans have decided that the best way to help the unemployed is to stop unemployment benefits. In fact, I understand that one of the reasons the Republicans (and some Democrats, actually) do not want the unemployed to receive any benefits is because receiving benefits makes unemployed people too lazy to look for work.

I have been unemployed since June 2008. My former employer, I learned from a former colleague, allegedly thinks that my sexual orientation was not a good match for the organization. I have been seeking full-time employment since.

I can honestly say that I have applied for between 1,000 and 2,000 jobs. I have had a handful of interviews and, for one job, made it to the top five out of 300 candidates but the organization decided to go with an outside consulting firm.

To keep my unemployment benefits going, I have accepted 1099 freelance contract jobs that have paid as little as $50 per day. By accepting a day-contract position, I become ineligible for one day of unemployment benefits (unless that job pays more than $405). As a result, I am technically still eligible for approximately five more weeks of unemployment until I am an "official" 99er. But technically, I've been unemployed for more than 99 weeks.

I am appalled that the Republicans will only start wars, bail out their rich friends and say "no" to citizens of this country who need assistance. I'll keep looking for work and keep hoping that I won't become homeless. Although, I hear that human resource people will only consider hiring employed applicants these days; which takes me out of the running.

- By Bob Johnson

Motivated by the End of Unemployment

I lost my unemployment two months ago. I took it last year, telling myself that I really was going to work really hard to find a full-time job I really like. In the meantime, I'd have some money to live on.

Well, I got the money and I did look for work - when I felt like it, which wasn't often, honestly. I kept leaning on my benefits, and leaning and leaning. Oh, I would take a stab at job seeking. I signed up on job-search websites and I applied for writing jobs. Writing was what I really wanted to do for a living, along with cartooning. This was my big chance to do what I love and the money would follow. The only thing was, I was in no hurry to really pursue this dream. After all, I had unemployment coming in.

This went on until one day I got the message from the Department of Workforce Development: the benefits were over. The "security blanket" of monthly payments had been yanked off me. Now there was one more thing I could not count on. I was lost.

After about a month of no more unemployment pay, I slowly realized (very slowly) that I had to get to work, and on the double. Now I had to start writing more, every day if I could, to get more articles sold on the websites I now write on. I got what I wanted - now, as they said during my basic training in the military, "Ain't nothin' to it but to do it!" In other words, work really hard.

Well, I am working hard. I can stand to work harder. I have my good days of working at home and my not-so-good days. There are times when I feel like a freakin' genius (like when my mom says I'm such an excellent writer), and times when I feel like a total hack (when I find a typo in my story after I publish it). But I write on, pushing myself (gently now) to do more.

Now that I think of it, my unemployment money was more of a hindrance than a help. Yes, I could still pay my bills, but I felt no motivation to work hard and really follow my dream - after all, there was money coming in. I didn't even panic during the times when my bank account was really, really low in the middle of the week - after all, more was coming next week. Now I've got to hustle and work at my dream jobs of writer and cartoonist with renewed effort, as if my life depended on it - because it does.

Changing my mindset will help. I've got to treat freelancing like a "regular" job, as if I were earning a paycheck that I get every two weeks. And the more I write and draw, the bigger the paycheck. In the immortal words of Laverne & Shirley's Laverne DeFazio, "You work, you get paid. You don't work, you don't get paid. That's the American way." Also, to paraphrase the Bible, "She that does not work, let her not eat." And I love to eat.

- By Donna K. Upshaw

What To Do If Your Unemployment Benefits Have Run Out

If your unemployment insurance has ended, there may be other resources you can take advantage of. Each state has a Temporary Assistance for Needy Families Program (TANF). Food stamps may be an option and Medicaid can offer assistance to people with no health insurance. In addition, each state unemployment office offers updates on unemployment insurance and links to valuable resources for families.

You may also be able to trim some of your costs by taking advantage of various programs including:

Next: Hiring Trends for 2010: Where the Jobs Are >>

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I wish you all the pain and suffering I have endured simply because I lost my job 2 years ago. I have a college degree and a solid resume. How about you? Some idiot like you should keep voting for aholes and let christian people work this out.

July 16 2010 at 3:18 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I WISH I was a 99er! I am a laid off school teacher from FL, and I was cut off unemployment after 20 weeks! They WILL not extend my benefits, nor can I even reapply until the end of this year. So No income, NO food stamps, NO assistance at I will make It I wonder! I can only feel for the millions more in my shoes, and many who have children too! Not that my $110/week was much to live off of any way, but at least it was something! Hopefully, things will change. I don't want to be on any "system" , however, many of the school districts here are doing MASSIVE lay-offs and are most certainly not rehiring anyone. Schools are closing and there's not even another profession to go to. Even the grocery stores are in lay-offs and hiring freezes! Fingers crossed this all gets better soon! Best of luck to you all!

July 14 2010 at 2:19 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I agree 100% unemployment must stop. I have a friend who makes a
living off unemployment. Has drawn unemployment 3 times in the 8
years I have known him and each time refuses to seek unemployment
until his benefits run out. He has the feeling of entitlement. When
the money runs out he looks for a job. It is my gut feeling this is
true of many unemployed. In today's economy for one to set back and
refuse employment until they can find a job paying what they were
making prior to their layoff is insane.

Let's face it. Our goverment workers have not lost wages or jobs in
the town I live in. Maybe that is where we all should be working.

July 14 2010 at 5:43 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Here is the thing. Of course it is hard to find a job, especially after you have been laid off, right out of school, etc. I have been fortunate enough to find a job about 6 months after graduating from college. HOWEVER - people are too stubborn to try and look for a job outside of their field. Yes, you may have to wait tables or work at some low end job. However, it is way better than sucking at the governments tit. I would never expect someone else to pay me to sit around and look for jobs. I would get a temporary job, just like I had these last 6 months. I understand and empathize in certain situations for people. However, people need to stop being lazy or stubborn and look for any job they can get, while still searching for employment in their field. No wonder the government is in debt, shelling out money to folks who decide it is more important for them to wait around for a job they like, and let everyone else who is working 40 + hours a week pay for it. There are way to many people who just want the government to bail them out of everything. DO SOMETHING for yourself! Get up and work your butt off! You won't get anywhere just sitting around and waiting for something to come to you. All you get is more than 99 weeks. How proud you must be.....

July 13 2010 at 11:57 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I think Lupe needs to start looking into birth control so she wont have to worry about her childrens future, after all, when government is involved in anything it will always be screwed Lube, are you trying to be one of those idiots that are on the reality t.v. shows that just keep having kids to make a name for yourself??

July 12 2010 at 2:34 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Bad credit bad credit is preventing some unemployed from getting jobs the government should stop this at some level,all the govt contractor tune people away for bad credit after the banks got all the bail out now this banks should bail people out too, they are now using the employers to be dept collector, the rep keep saying no to extending unemployment benefit, this deficit they keep talking about majority of the children may not have the chance to get there since they can't eat today so the rep are actually protecting their kids best interest since they shall be the ones left to pay the deficit because as the Rep Gop keep saying NO the poor kids don't have a chance.

July 12 2010 at 4:11 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Love Constable

Stunning. An American says he's glad his unemployment benefits got cut off. This is what happens when you dress the monkeys up in frock coats and charge them with running the asylums.
Would you be glad if your children starved, or had to go to school with the ghetto dwellers? Then surely you can empathize with those who have to face such problems.

Is this guy from Kansas by any chance?

July 11 2010 at 11:27 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Well, how fortunate for you that you were not hurt by the recent financial mess--many of us took a heavy hit when the stock market took a dive---we worked hard, we saved and were prudent, but we took a hit. However, we are doing something about it, we are not looking to be given a hand out and we are not complaining, but try to be humble about your good fortune and don't be a judge.

July 11 2010 at 4:32 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I was fine until Wall Street screwed everything up...this is a disaster that happened. Who is going to plan a disaster? I was doing ok, paying my bills like a responsible person should do and then this happened. You have no clue.

July 09 2010 at 1:00 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
catherine pierce

I am sorry. everyone should have been saving their money and not be enticed into debt by the government. and then you could weather these ups and downs of the economy, which are more severe because of the government's intervention.
the federal government is giddy with the power that we are allowing them and they have having a blast legislating everything for us while exempting themselves and sending us the bill.

July 09 2010 at 9:37 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to catherine pierce's comment

Saving?...who can save any money when you only make $13.00 bucks an hour and work paycheck to paycheck most of your life? I was lucky to have 20.00 bucks left over for the next pay. Wish I could save money like you can. You must have a husband that you depend on too, that helps with your expenses. Shut Up.

July 09 2010 at 12:55 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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