Poverty in America: It’s worse than you think

Poverty in America: It’s worse than you think

There’s no sugar coating it – economically things are bad. With unemployment hovering at around 8.3 percent, it seems the Fed is poised to act. This is good news, since Congress seems uninterested in collaborating even on economic issues. Without any action, it seems unlikely that we will see job growth anytime soon. Worse, the jobs that are being created are not family sustaining middle income jobs, but lowering paying service sector jobs. I have seen this first hand in my region, as manufacturing and shipping related work has dwindled, hotel and restaurant positions have taken their place.

This coupled with a shocking new study that exposed the outdated formula we use to determine poverty levels, makes things look frankly bleak. An article that recently appeared in the Baltimore Sun examines the issue:

The federal government, using a formula developed nearly 50 years ago, defines poverty as pretax annual income of $23,050 for a family of four, and $11,170 for a single person.

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Game On: A Tactical Household Guide to Unemployment

Game On: A Tactical Household Guide to Unemployment

So you lost your job. That sucks. Once you’ve dealt with the emotional trauma that we examined yesterday you need to make a plan and spring into action. Here are some of the things you should jump on right away.

1. File for unemployment ASAP. There is no shame in collecting unemployment – especially with so many others out of work in America. Unemployment is the lifeline that you will need to get you through this tough time regardless if you were lucky enough to get severance pay or not. Every state is different, but in Pennsylvania there is a week waiting period before you actually are eligible for benefits, and then you must wait another two weeks to receive any sort of payment. Start the clock as soon as you are eligible. There are usually time limitations of when you can file from when you lost your job. This is why it is critical to do this immediately. Depending on the circumstances of the job termination, your employer may fight you on the unemployment which could delay payment even further. Know this: Even if you are fired you are eligible for unemployment and it is up to the employer to prove that you were terminated rightfully (i.e. that you violated state defined code of conduct). This is difficult to do and many employers won’t bother with the process. [Read more...]