Millions of Americans filed for unemployment during coronavirus season, which means you are not alone in your struggle. Unemployment brings a whole list of problems, however, one of the biggest challenges is figuring out your finances. Luckily, there are ways you can handle your budget to make unemployment more manageable until you find your next job.
Submit an Application for Unemployment Benefits
Former President Donald Trump signed the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) on March 18th, 2020. This gave state unemployment insurance agencies more flexibility and administration funding. This act was a response to the havoc that the COVID-19 pandemic brought onto the American people. Then on March 27th, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act was signed into law. This act gave states the ability to offer unemployment insurance for a lot of workers who were dealing with the impacts of COVID-19. This expanded to workers that may have not normally qualified. You can review more information about the available resources here.
You will need to file a claim with the unemployment insurance program in the state where you worked if you want to receive unemployment insurance benefits. The application process is different by state. You could have the option to apply online, in-person, or over the phone. When you become unemployed you should contact the office as soon as possible!
When you file your claim you will need to provide information about yourself. You will need information about your previous employer, personal information, etc. It is important to make sure the information that you provide is accurate. If you have any errors on the information that you provide, you could deal with delays.
Review Other Assistance Options
There are countless other programs available to help with your situation. You will want to consider a food assistance program like the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) also known as food stamps. Your starting point for this program application would be here: https://www.fns.usda.gov/snap/state-director. This site will be able to help you understand what steps you need to take if you are interested in this assistance. Another helpful support program would be Medicaid. This is a program available to help cover the costs of medical expenses. Unfortunately, not every doctor accepts Medicaid. That is why it is important to make sure to check with your doctor before receiving treatment.
Create a Budget Plan that Works for You
You will want to really buckle down when it comes to your finances now that you are unemployed. Right now, you can only rely on the money you have in the bank. First see all of the money you have in all of your accounts. You want to avoid pulling money out of non-checking or non-savings accounts like a 401(k). However if you are in desperate need, you need to be aware of the money you have available.
From there, write out your monthly expenses from bills, to groceries, and everything else. You will need to start cutting down on all non-essentials. If you normally go to a salon every 2 weeks then you will need to put a pause on that. Cancel all unnecessary subscriptions whether that be a gym, a streaming service, a product box, a membership, etc. You want to live very conservatively when it comes to your finances until you have another source of income.
Try to Stay Positive
When life kicks you while you’re down, it can be easy to become depressed. Your mental health is important and should not be neglected. Try to remain positive even during the hard times. It is completely okay to acknowledge how frustrating and difficult the situation is. However, since the situation is out of your control, there is no use feeling bad about it. Obviously, that is easier said than done! However, as you remain positive you will be able to go through the flow of unemployment more smoothly.
Take This Time to Reflect
You can use this time to reflect on a lot of aspects of your life. Your career, your path, job security, and more. Maybe this is the opportunity for you to follow your passion. Perhaps you could use this time to learn a new skill to improve your resume. Maybe you can switch industries. You have a lot of options to consider. As you look for your next job, it is important to keep these in mind.
When reflecting, spend time with someone you love. Normally it can be hard to spend time with people you care about due to a busy work schedule. Take advantage of this time. Even though it is a low point, you can make the most out of it!