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26 January 2012

Swift And Decisive

The following is a guest blog from Lillian Swift, a writer from Northern Arizona University.
    -- Sir Bacon
Unemployment Benefits continue to be major issue in 2012
So many different families and individuals across the United States have been stricken with the perils of unemployment over the past few years. Aside from just the bottom line of losing money that provides, families have also been stricken with the perils of losing their benefits. This is when many turn to unemployment benefits to help get them through the tough times. With people facing long stretches of unemployment, many individuals have been forced to take a fight to the courts to battle for their unemployment benefits. 
Capitol Hill will soon be facing a decision regarding a proposed extension of unemployment benefits. An alteration would certainly be welcome to the many who struggle looking for a new position during these tough economic times. However, until the people in Washington can make moves on the item, there will continue to be more battles over unemployment benefits leaking into the court room. 
Just recently, an Illinois woman who was once fired for working through her lunch break was forced to go into a court battle with her former company over unemployment benefits. Sharon Smiley had worked for a realty company and they had decided to challenge her benefits after letting her go from her position. She was awarded the win in a court battle over her former company who challenged those benefits. Although she won the battle and is now employed full time elsewhere, there are many others out there who haven’t experienced the same fortunes. 
In Florida, this has become a major topic of conversation while politicians out of Tallahassee continue to propose cuts and more requirements to unemployment benefits, as well as the state’s Medicaid program. Recent rallies in Central Florida brought together citizens to help build awareness of the potential pitfalls that many unemployed Floridians could face. Their efforts were backed by representatives from Orlando Abogado practices, local fireman chairs and others from local employment agencies. 
As a recent college graduate, the job market has been tough on me as well as my peers. Many have been forced to settle for part time positions in the meantime and some haven’t even been lucky enough find any work. For myself, I am currently taking on the unknown waters of looking for full-time employment. Although daunting, I try and keep a positive mood going into every application and search. Even with a positive mindset for many recent graduates, it can be hard to maintain when things don’t go your way. Unemployment benefits to me are often a necessity. I’ve seen family members who’ve worked their entire life get them out of necessity and not out of a lack of hard work at all. 
Young adults who’ve lost their positions have also faced the tough decision of whether to apply for employment benefits. Of course, this is a tough choice for many of those who have been laid off or let go from their jobs. For people who’ve been working for years, this decision can be highly unwelcomed. 
On one hand, many longtime workers need to provide, possibly not only for themselves, but for a family or others. This certainly can seem like an easy decision, but some just don’t have the mindset to use these benefits, as they’ve been raised to believe that every dollar must be earned. This decision is different for the younger adults who may have been let go, as some of their choices may be based on perception and reputation. 
My father was faced with an interesting quandary in the past few years when let go for the second time within three years. On one hand, he had been in the military for 20 years, retired and worked for over 15 years following that, so he knew nothing different. He took the unemployment benefits, which helped him out for a few months in between jobs, something he is thankful for as he gets settled into a new sales job right now. The point is that, although taking on unemployment benefits remains a tough choice for some, for most it might be a necessity. 
The win for the Chicago woman who was fired for working through her lunch is a major stepping stone for those involved with the importance of unemployment benefits. There have been few times in history when unemployment has been affected as it has in the past few years here in the United States. Unemployment benefits have been and will continue to be an important factor in helping to support the citizens of the country as they look to get back on their feet during tough times. 
Impending action from Washington to extend unemployment benefits nationally could be viewed as both a gift and a curse, but it’s important to remember that help like that cannot be replicated elsewhere. In most cases, extending unemployment benefits would certainly do much more good than harm for the people of the United States. 

Lillian Swift is an aspiring writer who specializes in writing about community issues.
If you would like to write a guest blog, please contact me at

For My Journey Through Unemployment: