Peterson, 37, and her fellow unemployed workers were on Capitol Hill this week to share with lawmakers their challenges with job searches and how federal unemployment benefits help them keep looking.
"It's tough to find a job when you don't have enough money to keep your cell phone on," said Peterson, who had a 15-year career at nursing homes and in-home health care companies, and is looking for similar jobs.
Organized by the Philadelphia Unemployment Project, an advocacy group, the workers met with Pennsylvania Republican Reps. Jim Gerlach, Lou Barletta, Charles Dent and Michael Fitzpatrick as well as Democratic Reps. Bob Brady, Allyson Schwartz and Chaka Fattah.
"We explained we needed the unemployment benefits to get our resumés together and to take transportation to get to job fairs," said Deborah Whiteside, 50, a nurse whose benefits ended last week.
The stimulus era measure expired the week of December 28. Every week that passes, 72,000 unemployed workers, on average, exhaust state unemployment benefits and won't have federal benefits to turn to, according to the National Employment Law Project.