These are numbers that many of us know by heart now: 9.5 percent of Americans are currently out of work. Unemployment benefits have been extended from 26 weeks to 99 weeks. And still, the jobs just don’t seem to be coming back in a hurry. But here are some numbers that may be less familiar: One in six Americans is currently receiving some form of government aid, according to a recent survey by USA Today. Ten million Americans are on unemployment benefits, about 40 million receive food stamps, and 4.4 million are on welfare. Every single one of those categories has increased during the recession.
To talk about the impact on individual people, and our future, is Dr. Bob Lerman, a professor of Economics at American University, and a fellow at the Urban Institute, who specializes in employment and social policy.
Also with us is Donovan Marsden, who just recently got a job – at a significantly lower salary – after a year and a half of being unemployed.
Has receiving government benefits (food stamps, unemployment benefits, medicare) changed the way you perceive your identity? And do you feel differently when you're on benefits than when you're not? Share your story.