Jobless Benefits Provide Some Relief But Not Enough

Congress' 13-week Extension Gives Unemployed Some Breathing Space

December 29, 1991|By Amy L. Miller | Amy L. Miller,Staff writer

Marilyn Schreiner said she's glad Congress has extended unemployment insurance benefits for another 13 weeks.

But the Westminster resident, who was laid off from her teller's job at Household Bank in early November, would rather be employed.

"I'm glad it's there if it becomes necessary, but I would rather have a job," Schreiner said. "I need the medical benefits, and I'm tired of staying home and job hunting."

Like other county residents visiting the Department of Economic and Employment Development officelast week, Schreiner has yet to exhaust her unemployment benefits. But all hope they don't have to.

"I think it's wonderful, but people want their dignity back," said Jim Cruz, a former media billing manager for the Earle Palmer Brown advertising agency in Bethesda, Montgomery County. "People want to go back to work. If you look around at all these faces, a lot of them are embarrassed to be here."

Linda Colaric, a data entry operator, was laid off Friday. The Reisterstown, Baltimore County, resident said she just moved here from Chicago when her husband took a job as a quality control inspector.

"(The extended benefits) feel great," she said. "Jobs are hard to find these days."

When the extended benefit became effective Nov. 17, 1,075 countians were eligible for the additional unemployment insurance, said Dale Zeigler, deputy assistant secretary for DEED. Since that time, 50 to 100 more Carroll residents have become eligible.

Statewide, about 45,000 people were notified that they could be eligible. However, not all of them will receive additional money, Zeigler said.

"According to our records, those people exhausted their benefits and appear to meet all the criteria," he said. "Some may have gone backto work or may not be eligible now."

Zeigler said his office "won't know for sure until the report comes out in another two weeks."

"We have found that 20 percent (of those unemployed), plus or minus,will exhaust their benefits," he said. "What we have also found is that only 60 or 70 percent of those who seem eligible (for the extension) were still unemployed."

All residents who could be eligible for additional benefits will be notified by mail and sent the paperworkneeded to apply. Applicants need not stop by the county DEED office because they can mail back the information, said Paul Manacher, DEED public information officer.

"A lot of people have heard about the benefits and stop by the office anyway," he said. "What we tell them is that their name is in the system and they will be notified."

But extended benefits do little to console those who are eager to startworking again.

Debra Monk of Reisterstown, a former senior technical consultant for AT&T, said she is concerned about making ends meetand providing for her two children.

"I'm worried that if I don't find something, I'll have to give up my apartment and live with my parents," she said. "It would be tough even if I wasn't a single parent."

She also wonders if she will be able to find work relating to her experience in technical writing.

"The job I did was so specificthat I'll probably have to go into an entry-level job," she said. "I just feel like I've wasted 11 years of my life."

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