I Lost My Job! What Should I Do?
Updated : January 22nd, 2014
If you lost your job recently and are crestfallen and confused, here’s a list of things you should do immediately. We understand that it is a difficult situation and we have collected all the information you will need and summarized that into this article. You might be considering the option of signing up for the Unemployment Insurance, but there are a few things you must do before that.
Step 1: Reflect on Your Situation
Reflect on the circumstances that led to you losing your job. Was it because you under-performed or was it simply because your employers decided to let a few employees go for cost cutting purposes. Evaluate all aspects and come to a fair conclusion.
If you are certain that you lost your job due to no fault of your own, then you stand a high chance for qualifying for the unemployment benefits.
Step 2: Insure your Health
Find an alternate way to insure your health. Often your employer provides you with health insurance and if you are no longer working with them, it means that your medical bills are not going to be covered. Even if you are in the pink of health, this is a necessary step. We humans have very little control over matters related to health.
Step 3: Embrace Frugalism
Rework your budget and cut unnecessary expenses. As your primary source of income is gone, you may have to cut back on a few luxuries. Make list of things you spend money on and try to figure out what are the things you can live without. For our female readers, try to cut down on your salon visits, you can survive without weekly clean-ups and manicures but you cannot survive without food and shelter.
Step 4: Hunt for Jobs (Not Steve Jobs, the ones that pay you for your work!)
Look for a new job. Don’t consider resting for a while before you look out for another job. Find the job first and then you can peacefully enjoy your break. Make use of programs organized and sponsored by the State or local agencies to speed up your job search.
Step 5: File for Unemployment
This is the most important step. File for unemployment. Do not waste time thinking if this is necessary. Unless you are certain that you will land another stable job within the next two days, it is highly recommended that you look into applying for unemployment benefits, it will cover your temporary financial needs.
This step needs further elaboration about how you should proceed with registering yourself for unemployment and about what benefits you will receive.
What is Unemployment Insurance or the Dole ?
They are social welfare payments made by the State or other Authorized bodies to unemployed individuals. The amount disbursed depends on various factors that includes earned income, reason for being unemployed etc. They are usually small and are intended to cover the basic necessities. You have to register for unemployment compensation if you want to receive the cover payments and you will also have to prove that you have registered yourself to find another job and that you lost your previous job due to no fault of your own.
The Department of labor along with state partners work to identify various strategies to help deal with the unemployment issues effectively. Here are the things you should know if you want to apply for Unemployment insurance.
- Usually, the benefits are calculated based on the person’s performance over a recent 52-week period.
- Benefits are paid for a maximum of 26 weeks in most states.
- You can avail additional weeks of benefits during crisis periods like times of High Unemployment. Certain states provide benefits for specific purposes too. Speak to a representative from the customer service or claims department of the Labor Department in your state.
- The money you receive are subject to taxes and the same must be reported to the Federal Income tax department.
- You have to be determined to have lost your previous job due to no mistake of your own. There a few other eligibility criteria. It varies with the state.
- State requirements regarding your wages or time worked during a specific period ( often called as the base period) must be met. The base period is usually the first four out of the last five completed calendar quarters prior to the time that your claim is filed. You can also check your eligibility online.
How to apply?
- Contact the State Unemployment Insurance agency (affiliated to the State Labor Department) at the earliest post becoming unemployed. You can even do this via a telephone call.
- While you file, you will be asked to provide certain information like your address and dates of your previous employment. Provide accurate and authentic information to avoid unnecessary delays.
- It is customary that you file your claim in your native state. However if your last employment was in a different state, the agent at your local Unemployment Insurance agency will guide you with the same.
- It takes around 15-20 days post filing your claim for your first benefit cheque to arrive. Certain states have a one week waiting period and the second week is claimed as the first week of payment.
- If you wish to extend the eligibility period, you must file weekly and biweekly claims ( after your eligibility time period ended) and respond to the questions your agency asks you.
- You will be expected to report to your local Unemployment Insurance Claims office or the One-stop/ Employment service office on the date and time specified by the authorities. Failing to do so may conclude in your claims being denied.
- You must continue to meet the eligibility criteria as laid down by your state.
Register yourself for work
- Claimants may be directed to register with the State Employment Service. They shall assist you with finding a new job.
- If job offers in your field are limited, the staff at the Employment Service will help you take tests and counselling that will determine alternate sectors for you in which you are likely to perform well.
- Should you believe that you have special needs and other considerations, the staff will refer you to institutions that will help you accordingly.
Grounds for claim denial
- If you lost your previous job for any reason other than “lack of work”, an enquiry will be conducted to determine if you are genuinely eligible for the Insurance.
- The enquiry will be conducted by authorized state officials to see if you fall under the criteria laid down by the State or Federal laws.
- You can file for an appeal if you have been deemed unqualified. If you wish to file appeal, you must do so within a specific time period.
It can be difficult to stay calm during such times. Try to remain positive, never let your current state dishearten you or shatter your confidence. Do not get discouraged, take steps in the right direction. Update your resume, make your social media profiles more employer-friendly and spend quality time with family and friends to maintain a healthy state of mind. Finding a new job must be your top priority activity. We’re sure something will come up soon, Goodluck!