7 steps to take if your unemployment benefits have just ended
Editor’s Note: This story originally appeared on The Penny Hoarder.
Labor Day weekend marked a grim milestone for millions of people out of work due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Unemployment benefits ended for around 7.5 million people after President Joe Biden’s administration refused to ask Congress to extend federal benefits again.
An additional 3 million people lost a weekly federal boost of $ 300 to state unemployment benefits, although governors in 26 states have already withdrawn from the program early.
The increase in unemployment compensation has been a lifeline for millions of workers over the past year and a half. If your unemployment benefits have just ended or been reduced, don’t wait to act. Here are several steps to follow as soon as possible.
1. Look for a job in a sector that recruits quickly
If you are still looking for a job, consider a bridging job. Basically, it’s any job that helps you pay the bills, even if it’s not your ideal job. Since many companies are struggling to recruit employees right now, you may be able to negotiate better wages than you could before the pandemic in areas that traditionally don’t pay well.
Some places to look:
- Data Entry: Many industries require data entry clerks and offer positions entirely remotely. The typical salary ranges from $ 10 to $ 15 an hour. If you have strong typing skills, becoming a transcriptionist is another option.
- Online Tutoring: If you have a particular skill or a college degree, getting an online tutoring job can help you earn extra money. The typical salary ranges from $ 10 to $ 27 an hour.
- Foodservice, retail and hospitality: Across the country, restaurant, retail and hospitality employers are holding career fairs, and many of them are hiring locally and paying higher wages. higher than in the past. For example, those 160,000 restaurant jobs pay more than $ 10 an hour.
Also check out Penny Hoarder’s work-from-home job portal, which regularly features entry-level remote listings.
2. Take a sideways shake
Your goal here is to find a way to start generating income before your benefits end. There are many easy side activities that you can do right now with little upfront cost to start making extra money. Some ideas include:
- Drive for Uber or Lyft. Rideshare companies Uber and Lyft have a shortage of drivers, allowing drivers to make $ 25 an hour or more in some markets.
- Do odd jobs on TaskRabbit. Use the app to connect with people near you who need help with tasks like assembling furniture, cleaning and painting.
- Shop through apps like Instacart or Shipt.
- Baby sitting. Find concerts on sites like Care.com and SitterCity.
- Pet care and pet care. As people resume their travels, they will need services like pet care and babysitting that weren’t in high demand last year.
- Sell stuff. It’s not much of a side scramble, but if you have any good-condition items that you don’t use, you can pocket some extra cash by selling them. For example, here are 14 places to sell used clothing online or in person. You can also sell gift cards online for cash.
3. Search for rental assistance
While the federal moratorium on evictions issued in connection with the pandemic expired on August 26, help is still available.
Congress has allocated nearly $ 47 billion to help struggling tenants – but getting some of that money is maddeningly complex. As Vox reported, over 340 agencies administer this aid, each with their own set of rules.
To learn more about relief in your area, check out this state-by-state guide to rental assistance programs. Another good resource is the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s leasing help page. You may also be eligible for assistance with utilities and energy costs.
The 211 helpline, which is operated by United Way, can also help you navigate local assistance programs. You simply dial 211 on your phone and you will be connected with someone who knows the resources in your community. Due to the length of the process involved, it is essential that you take this step as soon as possible.
4. Get food aid
The 211 helpline can also connect you with pantries near you. Also visit Benefits.gov to determine if you are eligible for SNAP benefits.
It can take up to 30 days to receive benefits through the regular application process, but you may be eligible for expedited benefits, depending on your state.
5. Contact your unemployment office
You may still be eligible for unemployment benefits from your state, but the rules vary by state. Most states have a limit on how long you can receive benefits.
As difficult as the relationship with your state’s unemployment office may be, it is essential that you contact them immediately to find out if you will be eligible for state assistance. In some cases, you may need to reapply or request an extension.
6. Ask your creditors for abstention
While banks don’t advertise forbearance programs much like a year ago, contact your lenders to see if skipping or delaying payments is an option. The best time to do this is always before you’ve missed a payment.
Be sure to ask how they will report the status of your payment to the credit bureaus. If they report your payments as past due, your credit score will collapse.
If you have federal student loans, take advantage of the automatic forbearance which is in effect until at least January 31, 2022. You can request reimbursement of any payments you have made since March 2020.
7. Do not pay debts if you put your health or your home at risk
A minimum budget includes only your basic needs: housing and utilities, food, health care, and minimum debt repayment. But in a real emergency, you may need to make even deeper cuts.
Try to work with your lenders. But focus on paying rent and utilities, keep food on the table, and get the medications you need before you make payments on credit cards or loans.
Yes, you will damage your credit score if you miss payments without your lender’s permission. But you can recover from bad credit. While your credit score is important, your health and housing are much more important priorities.
Disclosure: The information you read here is always objective. However, sometimes we receive compensation when you click on links in our stories.
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