Unemployment Benefits Can Be ‘The Difference Between Making It And Not Making It’

From Huffington Post:  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/12/24/unemployment-benefits_n_4495341.html


PHOENIXVILLE, Pa. — Charlie Walker was working from home one day last January when he got a call from his manager, who had already assembled several other senior employees in his office.

“I can’t remember exactly how he said it — change of business conditions or whatever else — long story short: you’re out of here,” Walker, 55, said in an interview. He’d worked for the business-to-business publisher for 11 years. “Everyone else was in the office because they were able to pull them in. I got laid off by phone.”

He didn’t know how to react. His 6-year-old daughter, Emmalee, had been playing with dolls on the floor of their two-story home in this Philadelphia suburb while her father got fired.

“I hang up the phone and I look at her and say — she doesn’t know these things — and I said, ‘I just lost my job,'” he said. He immediately wished he hadn’t burdened his daughter.

The next thing he did was call his wife, Andrea, so they could begin downscaling their lifestyle. No more restaurants, no new winter coat, no more zero balance on the credit cards. Since then, between her job with a local government agency that serves senior citizens and his roughly $300 per week in unemployment benefits, they’ve been able to juggle their expenses.

“The unemployment wasn’t that much, but it made the difference,” Andrea Walker said.

The benefits are at an end. Congress skipped town for the holidays without reauthorizing federal unemployment insurance, which is available to workers after they use up the usual six months of benefits provided by states — which Charlie Walker has done. Next Saturday, he will be among more than 1 million workers whose federal benefits prematurely expire.

Continue reading at:  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/12/24/unemployment-benefits_n_4495341.html

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