How To Manage Your Finances If Unemployment Runs Out
Unemployment benefits are financial aid that helps you meet bills and basic living expenses when in between jobs.
What happens when that lifeline runs out? Firstly, don’t panic because there are many options out there and many resources available. Read on to find out how to get by.
The Way Unemployment Works
Typically an unemployment benefit lasts for a period of up to 26 weeks. Although, this varies by state and sometimes by an individual’s circumstance. The average amount as of 2020 is $380 per week.
Let’s say you’re fortunate enough to qualify for the full 26-week term. This equates to $9,880, which is spread across what’s deemed a ‘benefit year’. This is the 52 week period that begins once you file your claim. During this duration, you’re eligible for $9,880.
Please note that resuming benefits following short-term employment during a ‘benefit year’ may not be possible in some states.
When your benefits expire, you’ll be notified from the relevant agency and payments will cease.
Apply For An Extension
In certain situations, you may qualify for an extension of your unemployment benefit. If so, you’ll be informed when your benefits end and instructed on what to do next.
Check with your state unemployment office to establish for certain what benefits you qualify for. This is especially advised in the current climate since the coronavirus pandemic has been severely affecting the employment sector. Sometimes an extended benefits (EB) program is granted, which adds 13 to 20 weeks of additional payment.
In New York, for example, those seeking employment are eligible for 52 to 59 weeks of Unemployment insurance benefits. This is because the state is currently over the threshold of ‘high unemployment’.
There’s also the CARES Act to consider.
Apply For Emergency Unemployment Compensation
The pandemic is causing economic hardship for many. In direct response to this, the CARES Act was passed. It allows states to offer an extra 13 weeks of benefits for unemployment recipients.
This extension is known as Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC). It kicks in when the regular state or federal benefits are exhausted. If you qualify, it can be applied for online.
Let’s assume that you’re eligible for a full 26 weeks of unemployment and that you take advantage of the extended benefits program before applying for PEUC. This means that it’s possible for you to receive $380 per week for a full calendar year.
Additionally, there are also a number of assistance programs you might be eligible for.
Check Out Assistance Programs
There’s a wide range of assistance programs in place to help those struggling to make ends meet. It’s worthwhile to research these programs to help discover which of them applies to your situation.
For instance, you may find out that you’re entitled to Medicaid health benefits and Social Security benefits. Both of these offer invaluable support for you until you’re on a firmer financial footing.
If presently jobless, it’s also likely that you qualify for food stamps. The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) exists to help top up the food budget of needy families.
There are other measures that are available to help assist in you making rent and paying your utilities. Moreover, there’s child care assistance available that’ll help lessen the burden when seeking new employment.
Look Into Self-Employment Assistance Program
With so many people competing for so few jobs, you may feel your best opportunity to achieve financial security is to start your own business.
If the entrepreneurial route appeals to you, keep in mind that most states provide a Self-Employment Assistance Program (SEAP). This enables a claimant to get the necessary training while retaining their unemployment benefit.
Typically this scheme is funded by grants. Therefore, you won’t be automatically accepted. However, if you fit the criteria then you won’t be expected to seek out work. Instead, you’ll have to commit to a full-time schedule that’s designed to help you devise a business plan and learn alongside allocated mentors.
The duration of a course must correspond with a SEAP member being in receipt of benefits. Therefore register early.
Look For Part-Time Work
If traditional nine-to-five jobs are scarce, perhaps there’s a way of turning your skills to freelancing. This endeavor could be in the creative sphere, selling online, or be taking on driving gigs such as delivering groceries. There’s a wealth of options to consider. Only you’ll know what appeals the most to you and which is the most sensible course to take.
Alternatively, signing up with a temp agency will increase your chances of finding temporary work. Part-time employment is always a viable choice for anyone looking to supplement an existing income.
The demand for part-time work increases greatly during the seasonal periods. This may not be part of your long-term planning, but it can definitely help tide you over in the meantime.
Unemployment is a tough time for anyone. Once benefits dry up, it can be extremely difficult to make ends meet. Thankfully, there’s a range of assistance programs available to you. The alternatives to full-time work can come in many forms. Research further and use the resources that exist to help you.