As some of you already know, I am an “non-traditional student” (e.g. over 40 and going to Marion Tech). Now, this wasn’t my first choice. I did have a job and earned a very good income but, that all ended last May. Due to the fact that I lost my job to “foreign trade”, I am able to go to college with expenses paid. Believe me, I know how extremely fortunate that I am. There is absolutely NO WAY that I could afford to attend school on unemployment. That barely pays the bills. And, I have made the absolute most of this opportunity. To me, this is not a hand-out. I’ve worked 40+ hours a week for the last 27 years and paid taxes. So, here comes the complaint, WHY is there so much red-tape to cut through to be eligible and then finally receive these benefits?? First of all, the application to receive the benefits was filled out and sent to the United States Department of Labor last September. Then, finally, we, as a group of employees from the same company, got certification for Trade Adjustment Act benefits on January 8th, 2010. Now, after filling out endless forms and hunting down everyone but Osama Bin Ladin for information, I am almost ready to complete the process. The federal government has made these funds available especially since the 2008 financial fall-out, but at what cost? Almost a year has passed since I lost my job and still nothing is set in stone. No wonder, to this day, there are brand new mobile homes sitting empty in New Orleans!!!!! One thing that I can say it that contacting your congressmen and senators will help. When I did get to a point that things were coming to a stand still, I contacted Washington and they helped get things moving again. I guess my point is, nothing in life is free and if you really want to achieve something, you may have to go not just one mile but several to get it.