Carrie Duran didn't have to scrounge too much when her rent came due in April. The 48-year-old single mother covered the bill with the $1,200 federal stimulus check she received that month.
But May soon would prove to be much tougher. Her hours working for a local nonprofit had been cut dramatically. She wasn't receiving unemployment benefits in her home state of New Hampshire. She had three kids to feed, a daughter with Down syndrome to support, a car payment that hounded her so much that creditors called her five times on Mother's Day alone -- an ever-growing list of responsibilities competing for her attention and her ever-dwindling bank account.