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Bob Begun
Unemployed since: April 2008

Benefits expired: October 2008

Filed in: California

Age: 63

I've run out of jobless insurance for the second time in a few years. After I was laid off at the end of 2006, it took me until February 2008 to find another job in technical sales. The new job paid well, but it lasted only two months.

I was really disappointed, but the layoffs didn't surprise me; the company's phone barely rang and our Web site was so dead that we sent dummy orders through to make sure the site was still working.

I was receiving only about $600 every two weeks from unemployment, and now even that has run out. My benefits ran out during my last stretch of unemployment, and I can't believe it. This time they've offered extensions, but because I was laid off so quickly, I didn't qualify.

When I turned 63, I applied for Social Security. Every penny of it goes to house payments. Of course, it would have been ideal to wait until I was 65, but that wasn't an option. Luckily my wife is still employed in the health care field, but it's really not enough money. I had to file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, and I have no credit cards. I've lost about $100,000 in home equity.It's especially tough for older workers, I think. I'm competing with people half my age for the meager amount of jobs, and employers have the pick of the litter even as salaries fall. In Southern California, the market never really recovered after 9/11.

The requirements for extensions are archaic. These rules don't reflect how brutal this economy is -- meanwhile, I have to watch our government shoveling money at the thieves on Wall Street. Unfortunately, people like me don't have the money to purchase the representation of our government.

NEXT: Michelle Etheridge

Last updated July 17 2009: 10:06 AM ET
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