As we are in the midst of these unprecedented and uncertain times, so many Americans have been thrown into further turmoil by having to navigate states’ unemployment systems that have not been set up to operate at the capacity that the sudden deluge of lay offs and terminations has dictated. Many states are experiencing backlogs in claims resulting in anywhere from a 1 week to a 5 week delay in initiating benefits to those who have suddenly found themselves without work.
60% of people in the United States have less than $400 to their name at any given point, and therefore are not equipped to deal with a sudden loss of income (and over a month delay in getting what small assistance they can get from unemployment). This begs the question, in a time that is already overridden with fear, what can we do to be sure we are meeting the most basic needs for ourselves and our families, especially if we are facing a sudden loss of employment, and a delay in benefit.
Here are a few pointers to help you get through these challenging times, while we all patiently wait for the light at the end of the tunnel:
- Cut out all extraneous spending (eating out, cable TV, subscription boxes, any other entertainment expenses)
- Reach out to your mortgage company, utilities, cell phone, WiFi – request a few months reprieve, or see what programs they have set up to help their customers during these times
- Unemployment has been extended to 39 weeks, so, while you should be making an effort to find new employment (there are jobs out there – remote and in person!) remember, you have time!
- If you are worried about health insurance make sure you have COBRA information from your previous employer, and explore your state’s healthcare marketplace, see if there is something that can be more affordable for you.
- Research your state’s unemployment page online – they are posting updates weekly and sometimes daily, and it will keep you the most up to date on what is happening and what they expect.
Remember – you aren’t the only one with questions, so reach out to the people around you. Just because you are physically distant, doesn’t mean you are alone.