My unemployment benefits ran out

These 5 have been unemployed so long enough they exhausted their unemployment insurance - just like half a million Americans about to face the same fate. How did it happen, and how do they cope without a weekly check?

1 of 5
BACKNEXT
Mary Ortega
Unemployed since: May 2008

Benefits expired: July 2009

Filed in: Pennsylvania

Age: 42

I was working as a store manager at a women's retailer called The Pink Turtle before the whole chain shut down. We did everything we could -- we cut employees' hours, slashed pricing -- but I was laid off in May 2008 when the store closed.

I figured I'd be out of work for three to six months, max. Early in my career I'd been laid off, and it never lasted longer than that. I applied for unemployment, and I received the maximum $528 a week before taxes.

Soon I realized how tough of a road I had ahead of me. Headhunters were telling me how online job posts receive 1,000 resumes. Another big blow came when my partner, Craig, was laid off from Blue Cross/Blue Shield a few months later. He recently found a job in Lancaster, Pa., so he's commuting three hours a day.

I think about what would have happened if Craig and I hadn't moved in together. I probably could have scraped by being single -- but if you're living someplace where cost of living is higher, you're in a tough bind.

Our savings are exhausted, and it's going to be very tight for the next 45 days. If I don't find a job before that, I truly don't know what I'm going to do. I'm grateful for the checks I've received for the past year, but I just wish I could keep getting them somehow.


NEXT: Orion Lyonesse
Last updated July 17 2009: 10:06 AM ET
Email | Print | Share  |  RSS
 
google my aol my msn my yahoo! netvibes
Paste this link into your favorite RSS desktop reader
See all CNNMoney.com RSS FEEDS (close)
More Galleries
Novelty gifts for people with money to burn For those who've got the cash, these holiday gifts can really make a statement. More
The best stocks of 2014 This year has been very solid for stocks, but these 6 were the best of the S&P 500. More
14 biggest tech fails of 2014 2014 was chock-full of big failures in technology, from security snafus to executive gaffes. Here are the top ... er ... bottom 14. More

Special Offer

Most stock quote data provided by BATS. Market indices are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET. Disclaimer.

Morningstar: © 2014 Morningstar, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Factset: FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2014. All rights reserved.

Chicago Mercantile Association: Certain market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved.

Dow Jones: The Dow Jones branded indices are proprietary to and are calculated, distributed and marketed by DJI Opco, a subsidiary of S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC and have been licensed for use to S&P Opco, LLC and CNN. Standard & Poor's and S&P are registered trademarks of Standard & Poor’s Financial Services LLC and Dow Jones is a registered trademark of Dow Jones Trademark Holdings LLC. All content of the Dow Jones branded indices © S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC 2014 and/or its affiliates.