In early February this year, I was laid off from my job. I became one of the many statistics you see bandied about by the U.S. Department of Labor.
Instantly I had to consider my options and decide what I wanted to do. I decided to work toward becoming a freelance writer, since I am a writer at heart and newspapers have a considerably weak future.
The letter from my employer came; the one that said I could continue my insurance through the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA).
The way things are currently set up, if you lose your job and want to keep the same insurance coverage, you can do so through a COBRA and pay your portion of the premium, the employer’s portion of the premium, PLUS an additional 20 percent.
This raised my monthly premiums to $328 a month.
Part of the stimulus, officially called the American Investment and Recovery Act, included a 65% subsidy for those laid-off from their jobs.
I watched C-SPAN attentively, crossing my fingers, in hopes that the act would pass so I wouldn’t have to beg ol’ Dad for money so I could afford my medications each month.
Because the recovery act was passed, I now pay $110 a month for my health insurance instead of $328 a month. I am able to pay all my bills and work hard to become fully self-employed as I market myself as an artist/jeweler/pet-sitter/freelance writer/Awesome McAwesomepants.
I contribute to the economy each week. I do not have to use credit cards or loan sharks to be able to pay the bills. I am able to live and work toward my American dream.
So, yeah – I do tend to get a bit touchy when people say the stimulus hasn’t worked.
It works for the people who needed it most – those like me who lost their jobs as a result of this recession. It works for me today, it works for me every day. I am not yet where I need to be – heck, very few people are – but I can keep my head held high during these tough times.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go shopping and support the economy.