07/01/2010 03:29 pm ET Updated May 25, 2011

Stories From the Unemployed

At the end of May, federal emergency unemployment compensation began to disappear. Each week since then thousands of people have lost their unemployment insurance. By the end of next week the number of people dropped will reach 90,000 in Michigan and over two million nationwide.

The House passed an extension of this vital program before the May deadline and again today. However, the Senate has tried repeatedly to bring an extension to a vote, but each time it has been blocked by Senate Republicans. This is shameful and hurts families across the country. Their stories are getting lost in an increasingly politicized debate over the extension and so I wanted to take the time to share a few of the stories that have been sent to my office.

"I worked 22 years in automotive 60-70 hrs a week supported my family, paid my taxes and worked in my community. Every single day I send my resume out to no avail. I have lost my home, one vehicle and my sense of the ability to take care of my family." - Grand Rapids, MI

"I am a U.S. Navy Veteran, and am trying to get things going. But I need just a little more help. I don't know if I can keep my house." - Warren, MI

"[I] have been out of work since December 2008, was able ... to get into the Trade Adjustment Assistance program and return to school full time. I rely on UI to pay my rent so that I can focus on studying to transition from purchasing in the Auto Industry to a career as a paralegal." - Detroit, MI

"After 40+ years of employment in Michigan (in manufacturing) I was laid off on 8-7-09. I am currently entering into courses at [Macomb Community College] to advance my chances for becoming employed once again. I have taken advantage of the No Worker Left Behind program through the DWDD program in Detroit and intend to start classes shortly... I am currently in tier I of (EUC). If this is not extended, I will be unable to attend school or keep my home from going into foreclosure." - St. Clair Shores, MI

"I am an educated very experienced individual, I have been looking for work for over a year and a half constantly - I have applied for both career type positions as well as anything else I can do to earn an honest day's pay. My husband and I worked for a combined total of 60 years with our employers paying into to system. If I was offered a job tomorrow I'd be there, it's not for lack of trying or wanting to be home (which I have lost by the way). I even worked as a substitute teacher during the school year for what amounted to $5 an hour. If there were a job available I'd be working." - Detroit, MI

"... [W]e depend on Unemployment to help pay our house payment and or bills. Without that check we would definitely lose our house. [My husband's] mother who is 80 is helping us out and that just doesn't seem right. We should be taking care of her not the other way around." - Madison Heights, MI

"I am a 60 year old unemployed Commodities Buyer that cannot get a job in this town. As of June 2nd I will no longer be collecting unemployment on the emergency extension. I cannot stress to you enough how very hopeless this all is for me and millions of people. I have worked since I was 13 making my own way, served my country in the Vietnam War, raising a family, paying my taxes and now facing total ruin. What is being done to help people like me in my time of need?" - Fraser, MI

"My husband is a Union Electrician and is about to lose his unemployment. He has always worked and never been laid off for more than a few months until now. No matter how hard he tries to find work there is not much work in the building construction in Michigan. This extension can't wait much longer." - Sterling Heights, MI

"I personally have been receiving benefits for 14 months and am now on my 2nd "tier" (20 weeks). I really can't say that I enjoy being displaced - I don't. I would much rather be working. I've decided to return to school and start the process of getting a BA in Engineering. I just hope the industry comes back to the U.S. and noticeably back to Michigan" - Fraser, MI

"I was on the 2nd tier of Emergency benefits which ended May 31. I have been diligently seeking work to support my family and pay my bills. I have been out of work since February this year. Also, I have a master's degree and still can't obtain work in my profession as an instructional systems designer. It is very difficult as you can imagine. I have been employed in my career for 15 years and I have never been without a job for no more than two weeks at the most. I want to work doing what I love with a passion! My family and I are trying to stay in Michigan. I was born and raised in our state. So, I would not want to leave Michigan, but if things do not improve I will have no choice." - Southfield, MI

"I've been in my field (Creative Director in Global and small companies marketing communication's departments) for 15 years. I am excellent at what I do. In the year and a half I've been unemployed I have had 2, count them 2 calls to interview me... What I receive from unemployment doesn't cover all my expenses but it helps. Right now it keeps a roof over my head and I pay out of my saving everything else. But, I'm coming to a point where if I had to pay for both I'd could only keep myself afloat for 3-4 months tops. Then I'd have to take cash out my 401k (which there's not much there because they were hit so hard from the economic downturn) and once that's gone; well I don't even want to think about it. But, if unemployment continued through the at least the end of 2010 I could sustain myself (meaning paying everything I'm paying for now) on just my savings for 6-8 months." - Royal Oak, MI

"My husband was awarded $1,050 before taxes from unemployment. After making a car pay[ment], paying utilities, car insurance, and buying groceries for our family of five, there is little nothing left over... My family is not living large, we are surviving. Cutting unemployment will take us out of survival mode and put us into homeless mode... After working 20+ years, this is the first time that we have asked for unemployment..." - Madison Heights, MI

"I am not lazy, I am a hard worker, raised my kids, paid many taxes, and just tried to do the right thing, but it is not enough today apparently. I have looked for work very hard and have not job despite my efforts, nor does my son. I am no bum and not looking for a hand out. However these are extraordinary times..." - Warren, MI

"I cannot stress to you enough how very hopeless this all is for me and millions of people. I have worked since I was 13 making my own way, served my country in the Vietnam War, raising a family, paying my taxes and now facing total ruin." - Fraser, MI

"All I'm asking is for a little time and a chance to obtain my education in order to be able to fully support my family and their needs." - Clinton Township, MI

"I feel very lost, humiliated, and very disillusioned. I am sure I am not the only one. Where will I go when I lose my House?" - Hazel Park, MI

"My brother was a truck driver for a subsidiary of American Axle and has been out of work for almost 2 years now. He has been looking tirelessly for work in ANY field, unfortunately without any luck. He has subsequently lost his house and his marriage and has been living with me for the past year and a half because he can't afford to live anywhere else, even with unemployment benefits. He has had some serious medical problems in the past and hasn't had insurance since he lost his job which, as I'm sure you can understand, causes a great deal of stress on the both of us." - Sterling Heights, MI

"I have been out of a very well paying job for two years... I have a part time job, but I have done the math. To pay for just the regular living expenses and for my kids and I to stay in my home... I would be working 18 hours a day. No one can physically do that." - Troy, MI