Unemployment benefits are a vital lifeline for many Washington workers who are jobless through no fault of their own. These programs help them continue to put food on their table, gas in their car, and pay their bills while they look for work.
Federal unemployment programs will begin to expire at the end of this year.
In fact, unless Congress acts to extend these vital benefits, approximately 100,000 Washington residents and more than two million Americans will be cut off from federal unemployment compensation by February 2012.
Over the coming weeks I will be pushing my colleagues in the Senate to work quickly to extend unemployment benefits before the end of the year.
But I need your help.
I consider it to be my job to be your voice in the Senate. So tell me your stories. Send me your pictures and your videos. Show me how inaction by Congress to extend these benefits would most impact your life.
While the unemployment rate dropped to 8.6% in November, we’ve still got a lot of work to do to get our economy back on track. But I can promise you that it will be your stories and experiences that will guide me as I fight for workers in Washington state.
Have a photo or video that tells your story? Please share it by using this form.
Send an e-mail with your photo or video link to: firstname.lastname@example.org
You can also Tweet your photo to @PattyMurray using #extendUI.
Note: Selected stories, photos, or videos may be used by Senator Murray online or in her public remarks. We will include only your first name and hometown. Your full name and email will never be posted online or provided without your permission.
I have heard from so many workers across Washington state—and I know they aren’t looking for a hand-out, they just want their government to be there for them the way it was there for generations of workers before them. They are just looking for a hand up—some support so they can keep food on their families’ tables while looking for work, and the resources and tools they need to skill-up, train-up, and get back on the job. Here are a few of their stories:
“I got laid off my job in April 2011. My unemployment insurance will run out at the end of this year. Unless Congress acts swiftly, federal unemployment insurance programs will expire December 31, leaving me with no benefits starting January 2012. I have two small children, three and five years old. Due to my employment status, we have to tell them that we will only be able to give them one Christmas gift this year. We also had to tell them we couldn't go see the “Disney on Ice” show because it was too expensive. Please renew the full federal Unemployment Insurance program through 2012 now! The benefit I get will help pay for our mortgage while my wife's salary, who works for Macy's, covers our day to day expenses - including providing for our children. I have been looking for a job for nine months now but there are not many jobs out there.”
– Jose Villanueva, Seattle
“I am writing to urge your support for an extension of the federal unemployment benefits. I am receiving these benefits right now and have enrolled in a special program to start my own business. Through the SEAP program, I have become my own job creator. These funds, along with my own savings, have allowed me to meet my expenses while starting my financial education business, Twight Financial Education. As a fee-only financial planner, I work with people who want to know more about how to handle and invest their money. Sometimes, we must work on getting them from paycheck to paycheck first. You know that while you have been in office, the financial world has become more complex, even as employee benefits have diminished. Without these UI benefits, I would not have been able to keep my business going. I have not yet made a profit, but expect to next year. I have momentum now and your support for these benefits is critical for me and many others.”
– Dana Twight, Seattle