In the fourth episode of Hard Earned, we meet Percy Evans, 66, and his wife Beverly, 65, who are struggling to keep up with their bills in Milwaukee, Wisconsin; a former industrial capital.

After being layed off as a maintenance worker during the recession, Percy now has a temporary job as a cleaner at an inner city mall. 

But earning only $8 an hour, he does not believe he will be able to retire any time soon.

In the last 20 years in the US, the number of people aged 65 and older in the workforce has more than doubled. In 1994 it was 3.7 million; in 2014 it was at eight million. 

Meet the Hard Earners  - The working-class people at the heart of our six-part documentary series

"Nobody has bounced back from the recession that we had, unless you were rich. Me and my wife have decent jobs, and we still live paycheck to paycheck," their son Keith says. 

We see how Percy and Beverly struggle to pay back their mortgage, medical bills and other basic expenses

In Chicago, we follow the story of Emilia Stancati who lost her job as a construction worker and now works as a waitress.

Earning less than $50 a day at a busy chain restaurant, she expects to be working well into her 70s.

Filmed over Christmas, we see how Emilia and the Evans prepare for the holidays and the considerations they now have to make in the face of their difficult financial situations.

We also meet Hilton Kennedy III, a US citizen raised in Mexico, who juggles two full-time jobs, working between 80-90 hours a week to support his pregnant girlfriend.

Hilton and Diana move out of their one-bedroom house at a trailer park to an expensive new apartment. We are also with them as tragic news surrounding Diana's pregnancy bites.

As we follow our characters' hardship and occasional good fortune in Hard Earned, we see how these couples and families are proud and determined to make it on their own to secure a better, more stable future.

Source: Al Jazeera