Life of Unemployment

If you’ve lost your job in the last 15 months, you’re not alone. The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities estimates, “some 29.7 million people in May [2021], including 7.0 million children, lived in a family where at least one adult did not have paid work in the last week because of unemployment or the pandemic.” Furthermore, they state the current unemployment rate is at nearly 6%, but before the pandemic, in February 2020, it was only 3.5%. While the United States has recovered jobs, we have not recovered enough of them. If you’re unemployed, here’s what the life of unemployment should look like to help you survive.

How to Manage Your Money After Unemployment Runs Out

The first step to take after your unemployment runs out is to determine what other aid is available.

Secure Other Governmental Assistance Available

Thanks to the pandemic, more safety nets are in place for the unemployed. Unlike more peaceful times in the United States’ history, now when your unemployment ends, there may be other options available thanks to numerous stimulus bills passed during the pandemic.

Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation

A few weeks before your unemployment runs out, check with your local unemployment agency. You should be eligible for Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC). The agency should tell you about this benefit automatically, but if they don’t, make sure you ask so you can apply.

Extended Benefits

After traditional unemployment and PEUC run out, you may then be eligible for Extended Benefits (EB). This unemployment is triggered automatically when a state reaches a predetermined number of unemployed people in the state. So, whether or not your state offers this depends on how many people are unemployed in your state.

Pandemic Unemployment Assistance

Finally, after you’ve exhausted all of the options given above, you may qualify for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA).

Take Steps to Preserve Your Finances

While you’re on unemployment, before your benefits run out, make sure to put yourself in a better financial position. When your unemployment benefits do run out, you want to be in the most secure financial position.

Slash Household Expenses

If you haven’t already done so, slash your household expenses. Eliminate every expense that isn’t a necessity. Yes, doing without small pleasures in life is difficult, but by doing so now, you will be in a better financial position when you are employed again. Eliminate cable, your gym membership, any extracurriculars for the kids, expensive foods you may buy at the grocery store, etc.

Contact Your Creditors

Contact all of your creditors. During the pandemic, many mortgage lenders are working with the unemployed. Contact your credit card companies and car loan providers. Luckily, student loan payments are currently paused, but if they begin again, as they’re scheduled to do in September 2021, put yours on deferment so you won’t be responsible for payments until you’re hopefully employed again.

Get Private Assistance

Life of Unemployment
Photo by Joel Muniz on Unsplash

In addition, utilize any private assistance available. Go to the food bank to get your food. See if your local church can offer any assistance. Tap into private sources so you can make any money you do have last as long as possible.

How to Find or Create a Job

Two things tend to happen when you’re unemployed for a long time. First, you feel desperate and apply to any job opening you find, whether or not it is a good fit for you. Second, you may feel so depressed that you find applying for jobs difficult to do, so you avoid it.

Instead, take a different approach.

Only Apply for Jobs that Match Your Qualifications

When searching for a job, only apply for those jobs that match your qualifications. This makes your job search more productive and actually increases your chances of finding a job.

Talk to Family and Friends

While you may feel embarrassed or ashamed that you’re unemployed and try to keep it a secret, take a different approach. Let everyone in your life know that you’re unemployed and searching for a job. You never know who knows someone who may have a job to offer you.

Other Ways to Increase Your Chances of Employment

Also, take these other steps to help increase your chances of employment.

Be Flexible

While you may want to continue living in your current town, if you want to be employed sooner rather than later, be flexible. You might need to move across the country for a new job. If you’re willing to do that, you might be employed sooner. Likewise, you should be flexible with your salary requirements. When the pandemic is over, there will be time to find a job in your desired location at the salary you would like.

Create Your Own Gig

Depending on your skills, you may be able to create your own job. If you have experience with bookkeeping, you may be able to begin doing that privately from home. If you have experience writing, you could become a freelance writer. Another option is to become a tutor in areas that you excel in such as mathematics.

Revamp Your Resume

Have a few friends in the same field as you look over your resume. Is there any way you should change it to make it stronger and more appealing?

Practice Interviewing

Likewise, meet with a mentor or professional friend and practice interviewing. Not only does this make you more comfortable when you have an interview, but your mentor can also give you honest feedback about your interviewing style. In addition, he can give you suggestions for improving how you present at an interview.

Go Back to School

Sometimes going back to school is an option. You can gain additional skills for your career or change career fields completely. However, generally use this option as a last resort because school takes a significant amount of time and money to complete.

Final Thoughts

Being unemployed can be scary and stressful. However, know that you’re not alone. Millions of Americans are currently in the same situation. The life of unemployment should look like this to give yourself the best chance of landing on your feet and reentering the workforce sooner rather than later.

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