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Unemployed Say They’re Not Freeloaders

by Hugh McQuaid | Dec 30, 2013 5:30pm
(19) Comments | Commenting has expired
Posted to: Congress, Jobs

Hugh McQuaid Photo

Alicia Nesbitt

Alicia Nesbitt and Erin Londen are two of about 22,000 unemployed Connecticut residents whose unemployment benefits were terminated this month and they wanted Congress to know Monday that they resent being treated like freeloaders.

“Congress, I hope you’re listening. I know you’re probably having a great time on vacation, but we’re all here. This is it. This is the face — middle class, middle age, own a home, never thought I’d be in this position. Put out some dollars,” Nesbitt said at a Monday press conference.

Nesbitt, a 56-year-old East Windsor resident who previously worked in financial aid administration, will be collecting her last unemployment check this week as Congress allowed the federal long-term unemployment program to expire on Saturday.

The program had been providing federal assistance to residents who had already exhausted the 26-week state program. In Connecticut, that means about 25,000 residents are abruptly losing their assistance income.

The state Labor Department plans this week to notify about 3,500 of those 25,000 residents to let them know that they are eligible to receive additional state benefits at a lower rate, but thousands more will be out of luck. Nesbitt said she planned to apply for food stamp benefits because she did not have enough food to eat in her home.

At a press conference held at CTWorks, an employment assistance center in Hartford, she described part of a conversation with a lawmaker whose name she said she did not remember. Nesbitt expressed frustration with the implication that recipients of the long-term benefits would rather collect government checks than find jobs to support themselves.

“If he thinks that this lifeline that we have is making us dependent on the federal government — are you kidding me?” she said. “. . .There’s no jobs. I don’t just apply in my field, I apply across the board anything that I think is relevant, anything that I think I’m qualified for.”

Hugh McQuaid Photo Erin Londen, an unemployed Bristol resident, said she has been out of work since March and it’s been the most difficult period of her professional life. Londen said she is a single mother with a son in college.

“I am not lazy, believe you me, my friends that are working say ‘you work harder than we do.’ They’re right. Every single day I am pounding it — almost seven days a week — trying to find a job, talking to the right people,” she said.

Without benefits, Londen said she was worried about losing her house and may have to move out of state.

U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal said he hoped a bipartisan bill to extend the program for three months would be among the first actions the Senate takes when it returns next month.
“We’re talking here about people who have worked hard their whole lives and they find themselves now in this predicament that they never could have predicted,” he said. “They’re seeking work, they’re trying to upgrade their skills.”

Although he voted for it, Blumenthal criticized a negotiated budget deal passed earlier this month because it did not continue the program. In January, he said Congress will have the opportunity to “make amends” for not including an extension in the bill.

Blumenthal urged residents to contact their elected officials and said he hoped it would pass both the Senate and the House. He said it is an issue that impacts people all around the country.

“My hope is that Congress is listening right now. We’re on break. They ought to be listening and heeding what they hear from America’s people,” he said.

At an earlier Capitol press conference Monday, Gov. Dannel P. Malloy said he also hoped Congress was listening to constituents on the issue.

Hugh McQuaid Photo “I hope that Congressmen and women that are home in their constituencies right now are getting an earful. We have high unemployment in this country and we have traditionally dealt with high unemployment by extending the benefits,” he said.

Malloy called the timing of ending the program “absolutely horrendous.” He said he would support extending the program even if it were only for a few months.

The governor said that unemployment rates are currently higher than they have been at points when Congress has historically chosen to discontinue the federal benefit program. He said it “makes no sense at all” to terminate the program while more than 7 percent of the country are considered unemployed.

Malloy said the loss of benefits for the unemployed could cost the economy billions of dollars. He blamed Republicans for the program’s expiration and likened it to to the federal government shutdown in October.

“As far as I can see, Republicans nationally as well as, when given the option locally, find a way to hurt the economy,” Malloy said.

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(19) Comments

posted by: art vandelay | December 30, 2013  6:04pm

art vandelay

It makes me sick every time I see Blumenthal & Malloy exploiting people in situations they helped to create.  If Progressive Democrats believed in a free market economy, with low taxes, and less regulations there would be far less unemployment. Connecticut needs a leader like Ronald Reagan to get this state back on track.

posted by: NoNonsense2013 | December 30, 2013  6:51pm

You’re kidding, right, Art? In today’s political climate, Ronald Reagan could never get elected. The Republicans probably would not even nominate him. Ditto for Abraham Lincoln.

posted by: Lawrence | December 30, 2013  8:51pm

Americans will remember the treason of the House GOP in November.

posted by: dano860 | December 30, 2013  9:30pm

The last statement by Dannel shows not only his arrogance but his ignorance.
The Republicans agreed to continue the payments but they required a method of payment for it. Sort of like operating under the great financial policy of GAAP that he has the State of Connecticut under.
While I don’t believe that the system is being abused by all and certainly not by these ladies, there are without a doubt some people are abusing the it. There will always be some that deviate from the proper track.

posted by: StanMuzyk | December 30, 2013  9:44pm

NoNonsense2013:  The voting mentality of our voters has changed since the days that they elected Ronald Reagan as President. Look at what they elected now - by comparison. Art’s nod kidding.  I agree with Art—that the Connecticut needs a leader like Ronald Reagan—to get the state back on track—but the liberal mentality of state voters
won’t allow a class act in the governor’s office.  That’s why they voted for a Dannel Malloy—and we have more unemployment than other states.

posted by: art vandelay | December 30, 2013  9:57pm

art vandelay

@NoNonsense2013,
I forgot, the main stream media would have an easier job of destroying Reagan now.

posted by: ASTANVET | December 30, 2013  10:11pm

NoNonsense - you’re full of nonsense - Parroting that Ronald Reagan would not be elected today has no basis in fact.  If you read this article these people have homes - they have assets - by collecting unemployment they have not taken a job at wallmart - or home depot - or wherever is hiring - quite frankly if I were unemployed and had no benefits, i’d move to north dakota where the unemployment rate is 3% or Texas where they have similar employment rates.  CT does not have the jobs, and that is a direct result of the over reach of government - when you pay someone to do nothing that is what you’ll get more of.  Safety net - sure - permanent payments - no thanks.  A great economist once said, there is nothing more permanent than a temporary government program… That is what is being advocated for here!

posted by: Salmo | December 30, 2013  11:55pm

I feel badly for Ms. Nesbitt. Her only “crime” is that she is 56 years old.

posted by: Jesterr72 | December 31, 2013  6:59am

Hey Governor Malloy, you say the unemployment rate “is so high”.  Why is that? President Obama and the Democrats have had five years to get people back to work and have failed miserably. Labor participation is lowest in almost 40 years.  Think it may something to do with your dumb Lib policies??

posted by: mathlady | December 31, 2013  8:55am

One side of this that doesn’t ever get mentioned is the businesses that have to pay the extra unemployment taxes. As a small-business owner, we have provided jobs for 14 people, half of whom were hired last year. The result - our unemployment contributions have increased at a time when we are struggling to meet our bills AND we get hit with supplemental tax bills for unemployment. Allowing the benefits to continue for longer is actually exacerbating the situation in many ways since the cost of hiring increases beyond just paying the employee.

posted by: jim black | December 31, 2013  9:58am

Americans will remember the treason of Obama Care and Malloy’s largest tax increase in Connecticut history come November

posted by: StanMuzyk | December 31, 2013  10:24am

Lawrence: The treason in our country originates in the White House.

posted by: art vandelay | December 31, 2013  10:27am

art vandelay

@Jesterr72,
According to Malloy & Obama the high unemployment rate is Bush’s fault.

posted by: StanMuzyk | December 31, 2013  10:33am

Connecticut has the highest unemployment as Gov. Malloy is doing nothing to create jobs, and like his friend Pres. Obama—only pushes for extended unemployment benefits—not jobs.

posted by: dano860 | December 31, 2013  11:05am

Mathlady, as I said the Republicans wanted a sure fire method of paying for the continuance. They didn’t want to be like our illustrious leader, Dannel, with his GAAP, borrow it. That makes no sense at all, borrow money to get to solvency!? That’s the same as paying one credit card off with another one.

posted by: Matt W. | December 31, 2013  12:54pm

Matt W.

Its somewhat insulting and mildly amusing that Dick & Dannel choose these older white women to be the face of CT unemployment.  Where are the young black males who are the largest unemployed demographic by a long way?  Why is it that they only have a voice when it comes to issues of race?  Why is it that when it comes to discussions of the economy and particularly unemployment, these Dems can’t get far enough away from the segment of the population that is most affected?

posted by: artythesmarty | December 31, 2013  6:02pm

I think it should be extended.  I work with friends who had good jobs with skills who have had years of unstability.  It irks me as I know so many employed at the state or public education who have no fear of layoff, have pensions, and just prattle on on Geno, Brady and other non entities.  Their pay/benefits make it hard for businesses to grow here.  If DMV or DSS automated like a bank or insurance company they would eliminate 50% of the jobs; if public ed ran like Parochial schools they would eliminate 30% of the jobs.  Two economies, private and public.  Not fair

posted by: JH_1 | January 1, 2014  8:24am

The most common liberal talking point… “it’s the republican’s fault”.


These administrations, at the state and federal level, take absolutely no accountability whatsoever when things don’t go well.  It’s always someone else’s fault.

posted by: lkulmann | January 1, 2014  4:42pm

At a press conference held at CTWorks, an employment assistance center in Hartford, she described part of a conversation with a lawmaker whose name she said she did not remember. Nesbitt expressed frustration with the implication that recipients of the long-term benefits would rather collect government checks than find jobs to support themselves.

“If he thinks that this lifeline that we have is making us dependent on the federal government — are you kidding me?” she said. “. . .There’s no jobs. I don’t just apply in my field, I apply across the board anything that I think is relevant, anything that I think I’m qualified for.”

CT lawmaker makes this statement? Lovely. When the going gets rough the Social Service workers that work with the Public throw gasoline on the fire. Thank you for this because this is the very core of my suit. Suggesting that anyone is a freeloader is not part of the job description. Its harrassment. Its prejudice. Its discriminatory. Its bullying. Its verbal abuse and it is in no way helpful to a resident that is in financial distress and requesting food assistance. Meanwhile the very same social workers are embezzling food stamp and entitlement money for themselves. This evil department has got to go! How dare you talk to her like that! Just leave! Guess what DSS…The public hates you more than you hate us…Go! Quit! You’re fired! Leave! If you were doing your JOB you would HELP these people get off the system and teach them job skills. But you don’t do your jobs so you can skim off their food money!? Time to leave and don’t let the door hit you in the ass on the way out~