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When unemployment runs out

Thousands of the long-term unemployed lost extended benefits this year when Congress modified the unemployment program. Another 2 million are set to lose them in January. How do people survive after checks stop coming? Readers share their stories.

Living with dad

gallery unemployment benefits pamela wojtusik
  • Name: Pamela Wojtusik
  • Hometown: Warminster, Penn.

I started receiving benefits in August of 2010 and lost them in March. I received about $348 every two weeks.

I used it to pay for health insurance, pay off debt, pay my gas and anything related to my car. I used it for doctors' bills and food. It really only covered necessities.

Now, I've applied for general assistance and food stamps. I have to wait to hear. I live with my dad so I'm fortunate I don't have to pay rent. My dad is helping me out, giving me a zero percent loan. I have a part-time job in a fabric store, but I make only about $300 a month.

I'm putting everything on my credit card, which is not the best solution but it's the only one I have right now. I'm going to sell my car, which will make it harder to work full-time. I took out what little is left in my IRA.

I've gone to credit counseling. They basically threw their hands up and told me to file bankruptcy. I just keep trying to find a job.

- Last updated December 12 2012 10:10 AM ET

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