Unemployment benefits expire for hundreds of thousands
Losing your job is hard enough, but not being able to find a new one is even harder. Especially if your job search lasts for years, so long that your unemployment benefits run out and you have no money left.
More than a million people throughout the country are finding themselves in that very situation as their unemployment insurance benefits expire. The "99ers," as they're calling themselves, have exhausted their 99 weeks of benefits without finding a job. They say there aren't enough jobs available, and statistics agree: There are about five applicants for every job opening, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Without biweekly unemployment insurance checks, some 99ers are turning to family or friends for help. Others say they don't have anywhere to turn and fear they'll be out on the street. (Check out the photo gallery of 99ers telling their stories.)
Some are joining together in a campaign to plead for another extension of benefits from Congress. The last extension for the 99ers, which expired in early April, was passed in November. A petition on Change.org has more than 20,000 signatures. Two 99ers have started their own talk radio shows, Unemployment Roundtable and Jobless Talk, about the situation. A Mayday SOS campaign starting Friday has the 99ers faxing and e-mailing their resumes to Congress.
But with no talk in Congress about another extension, many 99ers say they don't know what to do.
"The nest egg that I had disappeared," said Gregg Rosen, a 99er who also lost money to ponzi schemer Bernard Madoff. "I'm just trying not to get discouraged."
-- Alana Semuels
Photo: Fresno resident Becky Morgado, left, who has run out of unemployment benefits, with daughter Elysha. Credit: Gary Kazanjian / For The Times