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Help! My unemployment benefits just expired

1.3 million long-term unemployed Americans will lose their unemployment benefits Saturday, after Congress failed to extend federal benefits.

I am not lazy. I want to work

unemployment benefits Erica Arrington
Erica Arrington (left) and her daughter Inez.
  • Name: Erica Arrington, 39
  • Place: Chicago, Ill.

I have been unemployed since May, and I am about to lose my extended benefits.

I spent six years working for Chipotle Mexican Grill. I started off as a cashier and went up the ranks to general manager. I was told I was in line for a promotion. Two days later, I was let go and a girl I had trained was promoted. I guess she was younger and cheaper.

Since then, I have had 12 interviews and applied to over 90 companies.

I am not lazy and I do want to be productive and work. When you are fired to make way for cheaper, younger help, other companies look at you as if you must have been a low performer. It is as if I have been blacklisted for these past six months.

I do not know what I will do to pay my bills and rent after December. I am a mother of three teenage daughters and do not know what will happen if benefits are not extended.

I have never been in a position like this before because I always believed that with my strong work ethic I would always have work. I pray for everyone standing in my shoes and for those who are not. I hope that they never have to experience not giving your family Christmas or sharing a coat with your daughter because you cannot spend the little money you do have.

I don't think that anybody really chooses to be in the situation we were placed in.

- Last updated December 29 2013 12:40 PM ET

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