Countdown to Nov. 30: Meet L.H. from Weldon, IL

L.H. is a 52 year old woman who was laid off from her factory job in Nov. 2008.  Her story demonstrates the irrevocable damage that results when unemployment benefits lapse, as they did in June and July of this year, when Congress allowed federal benefits to lapse for seven weeks.  When her UI stopped coming, she fell behind on her bills, and despite landing a new job, lost her car to repossession – and, as a result, lost the new job she’d just started.  Although she received retroactive benefits for the time when she wasn't working, it didn't matter -- she had lost the thing that mattered the most, her new job, and no amount of backpay could get her job back.

Here's her story, in her own words:

I was collecting unemployment benefits since 11/2008 after getting laid off from my factory job.  I am one of the many that had to wait for almost 2 months to get my benefits again when Congress allowed the federal unemployment benefits to lapse back in June through July of 2010.  As a result, I fell way behind on my bills, including my $300 monthly car payment.  I'd been submitting 20 to 30 job applications a week, and finally I got a job.  But, after working for only 2 weeks, my car was repossessed, and without any transportation to get to work, I lost that new job.

My youngest daughter and I have moved in with my oldest daughter.  I am still sending in about 30 job applications a week, but there's just no jobs.  I have worked all my life, and I've never been out of work for this long.  Now they are telling me at the unemployment office that my benefits are exhausted so I have no income at all!

If Congress hadn’t let those benefits lapse last summer, I’d still have my car and my new job.  Now I have neither.  What happened to me could happen to almost anybody. And if Congress allows the unemployment benefits to lapse again, what happened to me will happen to lots more folks as well.”

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