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What it’s Like to Be On Your Own


We’ve already heard a lot here about “The 99ers,” the long-term unemployed who have not only became a new byproduct of an unprecedented string of Congressional extensions to unemployment benefits, but who have also long-since exhausted the maximum 99 weeks of unemployment benefits available to them in many states in the wake of the recent economic downturn. The group, inauspiciously dubbed “The 99ers” for the remarkable amount of time they went without a job and with benefits, have come to represent the collective face (and plight) of many jobless Americans from across the country, forced to hang on every tea leaf, smoke signal, and whisper from the halls of Congress for signs of a new job plan, a new stimulus package, and more help for the recession-weary.

Back when we first talked about “The 99ers,” these long-termed unemployed Americans were nearly a million people strong—a large number for sure, but far from the majority of jobless Americans, who for the most part, had been employed between six and nine months. But today, the jobs crisis has left so many people out of work for so long that most of America's unemployed have run out of unemployment benefits. In short, The 99ers are now the new majority--and on their own in the current economic malaise.

According to The Huffington Post, “early last year, 75 percent were receiving checks. The figure is now 48 percent – a shift that points to a growing crisis of long-term unemployment. Nearly one-third of America's 14 million unemployed have had no job for a year or more. Congress is expected to decide by year's end whether to continue providing emergency unemployment benefits for up to 99 weeks in the hardest-hit states. If the emergency benefits expire, the proportion of the unemployed receiving aid would fall further. The ranks of the poor would also rise. The Census Bureau says unemployment benefits kept 3.2 million people from slipping into poverty last year. It defines poverty as annual income below $22,314 for a family of four.”

Nevertheless, a Congressional edict to extend benefits to another 99 weeks is too little too late: people without work for more than 99 weeks are no longer eligible for basic unemployment benefits. For these people, options are few and far between, including food stamps, welfare, other social programs. “Nearly 46 million people received food stamps in August, a record total. That figure could grow as more people lose unemployment benefits. So could the government's disability rolls. Applications for the disability insurance program have jumped about 50 percent since 2007. ‘There's going to be increased hardship,’ said Wayne Vroman, an economist at the Urban Institute.”

The hardships are great for the millions strong of long-term unemployed looking for a hand-up and out the nation’s lingering economic malaise. In response to this news that there are more in need than ever before, the solution for many long-term laid-off workers is to address their financial woes for themselves through the benefits of bankruptcy. As a result, bankruptcy filings in 2011 are expected to top one million, with many bankruptcy filers counting themselves among “The 99ers.”

Knowing a qualified bankruptcy attorney can help any unemployed person to conquer their creditors and face their financial fears, yielding the right kinds of support, information and insights—at a low cost— for a viable and secure future. Specifically, the bankruptcy attorneys at the Law Offices of John T. Orcutt offer a totally FREE debt consultation. Just call toll free to +1-919-646-2654, or during the off hours, you can make your own appointment right online at www.billsbills.com. Simply click on the yellow “FREE Consultation Now” button.


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