Unemployment Benefits Exhausted. What Next?
Updated : October 28th, 2022
Unemployment Benefits in the States has been instrumental in helping many families navigate through financial hardship caused due to job loss. Over 6.3 million people benefited from these benefits during the pandemic. As the economy slowly picks up, many people will find work, but many sectors are still struggling.
As people are on the verge of running out of their 26-week unemployment benefit period, they are anxiously looking for options to get some respite. This article will throw some light on the options available for people on the brink of exhausting their unemployment benefits.
Here is the list of other government benefits programs that could be helpful:
- Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)
- Women, Infants and Children Program (WIC)
- Social Security Retirement
- Social Security Disability
- Housing Choice Voucher Program (Section 8)
- Financial Aid: Grants, Scholarships, Loans
- State and Community Benefits
How to certify for the remaining benefits?
If you believe that you qualify for the PUA and PEUC programs and never filed any claim, you still have time to do the same. The States government has opened a 30-day window to accept new applications for PUA and PEUC.
The long-term unemployed workers may also be eligible for PEUC. The extended benefits will be available for 13 weeks to Connecticut, New Jersey, and New Mexico residents. However, they differ from PEUC. You may need to apply separately for your state’s new program. For specific information, you can check your state’s labor department website.
How to cope up with the lesser income and how to manage expenses?
Managing expenses is challenging when you are unemployed and your UI benefits are also exhausted. There are many ways to reduce expenses and cope with having less income. You can follow these simple steps to save money easily:
- Budget wisely
Before the benefits expire, grab your household balance sheet and plan. Start by making a list of your monthly expenses. Then, try to find things you can trim from your life, such as shopping or dining out, and prioritize spending on necessities.
- Save on utility bills.
There are ways to lower utility costs. Replace incandescent bulbs with LEDs. Install a programmable thermostat in the house to save on heating and cooling costs. Check out leaky faucets or toilets and repair them to save on utility bills.
- Freeze your credit cards
Credit cards are one of the most convenient ways of spending money, which can also be considered their chief drawback. Since it’s easy to purchase through cards, most people end up spending money on impulse purchases and get into debt.
Steps to follow when Unemployment benefits end
If your unemployment benefits are about to be exhausted, here’s what you can do:
- Save money
Trim your expenses and put that money in a savings account. Look out for the accounts best for your financial situation. This way, you can save money, and it will be less tempting to spend. Meanwhile, if you put the money in your savings account, it will compound and grow.
- Search for a job
According to the Department of Labor, this year’s job openings reached an all-time high of 10 million. So, consider expanding your network of contacts to learn about future opportunities.
- Know about the UI programs
If your unemployment benefits program has expired, there are other programs that you could explore, such as the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA), Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) program, State’s Extended Benefits (EB) program.
Additional helpful government benefits
In addition to unemployment insurance benefits, there are several other government benefit programs that you may find helpful.
Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)
The SNAP program, commonly known as food stamps, can help low-income families access the nutritious food they need in order to thrive. The SNAP program is administered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) through a nationwide network of FNS field offices. These field offices ultimately determine SNAP eligibility, so it’s important to understand the criteria for your state. You also must apply for SNAP benefits in the state you live in. In general, to qualify for SNAP assistance, you must show a gross and net income, plus available financial resources, that are below the limits set by your state for the size of your household.
In some cases, if you or someone in your household already is receiving benefits through another program, such as the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) or The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP), your household may be defined as “categorically eligible” for SNAP benefits because you have already been categorized as eligible for a similar income- and resource-based program.
When applying for SNAP benefits, your first step is to contact your state SNAP agency. They can guide you through the process for applying, which may include an online application, or you also may be able to submit an application in person or over the phone.
Women, Infants and Children Program (WIC)
The WIC program is designed specifically to help bolster the health of pregnant women and the health of their small children. Through this program, the U.S. Department of Agriculture provides federal grants to states for supplemental foods, health care referrals, and nutrition education for low income pregnant, breastfeeding, and postpartum women. These funds also go toward appropriate healthy foods for infants and children up to age 5 who are at nutritional risk.
The WIC program is another example of a federal program that is administered at the state level. To apply, you should contact your state or local WIC agency and set up an appointment – all WIC applicants must live in the state in which they apply. In addition, WIC applicants must meet income qualifications set by their state agency in order to be eligible. These income guidelines must fall between 100 percent of the federal poverty guidelines, issued by the Department of Health and Human Services, and 185 percent of federal poverty income guidelines. During your appointment, you will be guided through the application process – when you set up your time with your state or local agency, an agency representative can advise you on everything you need to bring with you to your appointment.
The Medicaid program represents a federal and state partnership to ensure that low income households have access to adequate health care. Low income households, qualified pregnant women and children, and people who receive Supplemental Security Income (SSI) are considered mandatory eligibility groups for their states’ Medicaid programs. In addition, states have the option to choose to cover other groups, such as recipients of home and community-based services or children in foster care who are not otherwise eligible.
The Affordable Care Act of 2010 also allowed states to expand Medicaid to include nearly all low income Americans under age 65, and eligibility for children was extended to at least 133 percent of the federal poverty level in every state. Under the ACA, states also were given the option to extend coverage to adults with incomes at or below 133 percent of the federal poverty level – most states have chosen to do so, but it’s important to check with your state agency before you apply so that you understand its scope of coverage.
To apply for Medicaid, you can contact your state’s Medicaid agency, where someone will be able to walk you through the application process. You also can apply for Medicaid benefits through the Health Insurance Marketplace.
The Children’s Health Insurance Program covers medical and dental care for uninsured children up to age 19. Through the CHIP program, children can receive regular wellness checks, immunizations, doctor and dentist visits, hospital care, mental health services, prescriptions, and more. Specific income eligibility rules vary by state, but in most states, children ages 19 and under with a family income of up to $50,000 per year for a family of four may be eligible either for Medicaid or CHIP. In some cases, families may receive health care at no cost to them at all. In other cases, families may be asked to pay a small enrollment fee, a modest monthly premium, or a copayment for services. Together, Medicaid and CHIP provide essential healthcare coverage for more than 7 million Americans.
A parent, grandparent, legal guardian, or other authorized representative can apply for CHIP benefits on behalf of a child. In addition, teenagers who live on their own may, in some cases, be allowed to apply on their own behalf. There is no specific enrollment period for CHIP benefits, and you can apply in person, over the phone, or online. You’ll need to contact your state’s Medicaid or CHIP agency, or you can apply for CHIP benefits directly through HealthCare.gov.
Social Security Retirement
If you are above the age of 62, you can apply for this program and get early retirement benefits.
How does Social Security retirement work?
Workers who earn enough Social Security credits are eligible for benefits from the Social Security Administration upon their retirement. If you are of retirement age, these benefits can be another tremendous resource for you. Social Security monthly benefits serve to replace a portion of your pre-retirement income based on your overall lifetime earnings. The percentage of pre-retirement earnings that Social Security retirement benefits replace is calculated based on your highest 35 years of income. Your total monthly compensation amount will vary based on how much you earned during your working history and at what age you choose to start benefits.
For example, you can begin receiving early Social Security retirement benefits starting at age 62. However, you will receive a reduced amount if you opt to receive early benefits. For most currently working Americans, the full retirement age is either 66 or 67. And if you are looking to maximize your Social Security retirement benefits, age 70 is the age that will provide the highest possible retirement benefit.
Social Security Disability
If you are unable to work because you have a disability, you may be eligible for Social Security disability benefits. As with Social Security retirement benefits, you must have worked long enough – and recently enough – and paid Social Security taxes on your income to qualify for Social Security disability benefits.
You can apply for Social Security disability benefits online, over the phone, or in person, and you’ll primarily need to show that your current medical condition prohibits you from performing the kind of work you used to do – and that it also prevents you from taking on a new type of job.
Supplemental Security Income, or SSI, is a federal program that provides financial compensation for adults and children who meet the Social Security Administration’s requirements for a qualifying disability – and have limited income and resources. SSI benefits also are made available to non-disabled applicants who are age 65 and older and who also meet the program’s financial criteria. In some cases, eligible applicants can receive both SSI benefits and Social Security disability benefits at the same time.
SSI benefits are awarded to eligible low-income applicants who are either blind, disabled, or over the age of 65.
Housing Choice Voucher Program (Section 8)
The Housing Choice Voucher Program, which you also may see referred to as Section 8, assists low income families, elderly individuals, and those with disabilities to access appropriate, safe and affordable housing within their communities. Eligible individuals and households receive housing vouchers that can be used to rent any housing that meets program requirements.
Currently, more than 2.1 million households in the U.S. receive housing assistance through this program. Eligibility for the Section 8 program is determined by local public housing agencies and is largely determined by total annual gross income and family size. In general, a household’s income may not exceed 50 percent of the median income for the county or metropolitan area in which the family chooses to live in order to remain eligible.
If you’re interested in applying for Section 8 benefits, you’ll need to determine the local PHA for your area and apply through that agency.
Financial Aid: Grants, Scholarships, Loans
If you’re currently unemployed, this also may be an ideal time to explore your options for going back to school and potentially making a career change. Many federal financial aid programs are in place to help you do just that. Financial aid options include grants and scholarships, along with government-backed federal loans. While these loans will need to be paid back over time, government-backed loans typically feature more attractive payment options than loans issued by private lenders.
State and Community Benefits
Depending on the state you live in, you may qualify for additional benefits and services when your unemployment benefits are exhausted. Food banks, energy assistance programs, and medical programs are available in your local community.
A good place to learn more about your options is with your state’s social services agency. Their staff can direct you to any additional resources or options that can help.
In addition to unemployment insurance benefits, there are several other government benefit programs that you may find helpful.
What happens when you run out of unemployment benefits?
Those who run out of PEUC weeks and standard unemployment benefits may be eligible for an extended benefits program funded by the federal government. At this time, this scheme is available in 42 states.
Why are unemployment benefits ending?
The U.S government has claimed that the residents were not taking the jobs they were eligible for and preferred to collect unemployment benefits instead. This is why they decided to end the unemployment benefits.
When does the unemployment extension end?
Each state has its specific guidelines for unemployment benefits. So, check out the guidelines for your area of residence for detailed information.
In what states are unemployment benefits still available?
These are the states where UI benefits are available: Alabama, Arizona, California (only regular state benefits), Connecticut, Delaware, Washington, D.C, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Mississippi, Nevada, New Hampshire, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Texas, and West Virginia.
Are UI Benefits extendable?
The essential unemployment benefits can only be extended for 13 additional weeks when the state is experiencing very high unemployment. However, not everyone qualifies for extended unemployment benefits. You can contact your state agency to know the eligibility requirements for extended benefits.
Will the PUA and UI Benefits be back?
The government of the U.S. has revoked the pandemic unemployment assistance, and it isn’t confirmed whether they will be back. So we recommend you to check out for other options.
Did you find this article helpful? YES | NO
Thank you for your feedback!