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How To Survive Unemployment

Author : Steven De Nazareth

Updated : December 11th, 2018

How To Survive Unemployment

There were more than 1 million people that have been laid off this year based on the details suggested by the U.S Department of Labor. In case you are recently unemployed then you should be able to learn how to survive unemployment. Another equally hard fact to digest is that 3.7 percent of Americans are unemployed and 22.9 percent of those people have been out of work for 27 weeks or more. The hardest thing is having to cash in your last paycheck and not know where the next paycheck would come in from.

7 Ways To Survive Unemployment

Here are the seven things that you should do when unemployed:

1. Apply for Unemployment Benefits

You should claim your unemployment benefits if you have lost your job for no fault of your own. The US Department of Labor usually takes two weeks before they can give you the benefits which are after you file for a claim. While some states allow you to apply online or over the phone, while others require you to visit in person.

You will receive a determined amount based on formulas that vary by the state which is typically based on what you earned over the previous 52 weeks. For example, one of the common formula that pays for half of what you earn with a cap that tied to your state’s average earnings.

In most states, you should be able to receive benefits for up to 26 weeks but there are programs that can extend this. Earlier, a federal program called the Emergency Unemployment Compensation offers additional benefits but it ended in December 2012. There are state and federal programs under Extended Benefits that provides 13 to 20 weeks of additional benefits to those exhausting state compensation. This program is available only in states where the unemployment rate is above the established threshold. This means that your state employment office can let you know if your state is part of the list. You should know that unemployment compensation is taxable.

2. Have an Unemployed Budget

Prior to the Great Recession, financial experts recommended saving three to six months of expenses as an emergency fund based on whether you would find a new job in that time. But since August this year, the US Department of Labor has stated that long-term unemployed made up 40 percent of the total unemployment rate. With these statistics, you would have to stretch your budget and make an emergency fund that will fund you longer than you wanted to. You should put your money on a survivor’s diet till you find another job. Here’s how:

a) You should first tally your savings and unemployment benefits and then divide the total into several months of income. This way you will know how much you spend in a month and survive many months. You should aim to save this fund for more than a year.

b) Next, you should update your budget and look for ways for savings. You can choose to downgrade your electronics or internet packages and save yourself some money.

c) Take a look at what you are spending on and see what you can cut out on without losing your quality of life. You can cut out cable TV and swap it for Netflix and save money that way without losing track of your favorite shows.

d) Be smart and don’t pinch pennies. You should know that you cannot spend as you used to but don’t make it worse for yourself watching every penny when unemployed. You should look at ways to save money and use coupons when you can.

3. Start the Job Hunt

While there are several jobs in the market, there is a strong competition and the job hunt takes time. Use these steps to get into action:

a) You should update your resume with some modern techniques to write your resume. You should note that you cannot make silly mistakes that should not come up on your resume.

b) Post your resume on job sites like Monster and Glassdoor. This will give potential employers access to your resume and contact you.

c) You should network both offline and online and let people know that you are looking out for a job. Tell people on social media that you are looking out for a job and search for jobs. Connect with previous colleagues, college classmates and potential employers that are there to help you get the job. Create a profile and start networking if you don’t already have a profile.

d) Clean up your online presence. You should hide or delete anything that you do not want your future boss to see.

e) Check out local resources like the US Department of Labor

4. Look for Temporary Work

You might have to hang out a little longer before you land your dream job but there are many part-time jobs that you can do now to bring a little cash. Some of these jobs include:

  • Seasonal employment: The holidays are coming up and retailers are looking for temporary workers.
  • Temporary jobs: There are plenty of employers looking for someone to work for a few weeks or a few months.
  • Side jobs: Going into an office isn’t the only way to make some cash.

5. Boost Your Savings

You should take inventory of everything that is in your house and see what you no longer use or use and make some extra cash by selling it. More expensive items like jewelry, you should sell online and for bigger things, you should use a garage sale as your best bet.

6. Keep to a schedule

A few days after losing a job, you would still wake up early and get things done. But then things start to slip up. Whether it’s waking up late, watching too much TV and feeling frazzled, you need to keep a schedule and stick to it. Once you get into the groove, you will be able to look for jobs, exercise and stop wasting time.

7. Don’t stop having fun

Most of your socialization happens at the office and this is why when you are at home, you might feel isolated. To keep from feeling disconnected, you can try these activities:

a) Volunteering is not only rewarding but its a great way to socialize, network and keep entertained. You can volunteer at places like a Soup Kitchen twice a week and this would get you out of the house and be within the company of people.

b) If you start a walking group there are chances that you might meet your neighbor and meet more people that could get you out of the house and burn calories.

c) You can also find a lot of free fun stuff to do like taking the kids to the park, catching a free concert or going to an art show.

Based on whatever you choose, you can make sure that you get the most out of it. Not only will it keep you busy but it can help you find your job even if it means visiting friends.

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  1. I applied for unemployment on 8-1 and was approved. I received my letter of eligibility and debit card about a week ago. I did not file my intitial bi weekly claim because I missed the deadline by 1 day (didn’t realize they would be closed on Saturday). When I logged on it said I would have to reopen a claim because mine had been closed. I filled out the online form to deactivate the claim. My question is this: will I have another waiting week? And will unemployment have to contact my employer all over again to verify my wages and go through the entire process all over again or will they just reopen the claim with a new date window to file?

  2. Lost my job in 10/2018 due to plant closure, collected vacation and severance pay. Opened a claim in 1/2019. Got an on the job training job through career link in 5/2019 worked one week and became very sick and was off for two weeks VA could not find anything wrong but gave me medication for the symptoms and an excuse to return to work, prior to returning got a call from my recruiter at career link telling me the position was filled so i did not return. Reopened my claim, a few weeks later got a letter informing me the employer had appealed and said i did not return, had a hearing and the employer did not show but i lost and got a 2500.00 over payment. Got a temp job through an agency but have only worked 4 days in two weeks. Reopened my claim and was told i need to earn 2604.00 from current employer before it can be opened, did i do something wrong? Still applying for work but am days away from losing everything, need income to pay bills. PLEASE HELP

    1. Rodney,

      Your eligibility to claim UI benefits depends on multiple factors including monetary eligibility. If you’ve been officially told about the shortage of earnings, there’s nothing much one can do. If you’re still confident of winning the appeal, please make a strong case.

      1. I live in KY but my base wages were from earnings in GA when I lived there. I’ve exhausted my benefits in KY. Am I able to now file through GA since my earnings through 10/18 came from there?

        1. Dee,

          As much as I am aware, Unemployment Insurance is a one time cycle. Please call the Unemployment Office in GA for more.

  3. The hours at work have been cut due to lack of business for every department.
    So all full-time positions are now part-time.
    How do I file for partial unemployment?
    The only options I see (in Texas) are for full unemployment.

    1. Eric,

      You should be able to claim partial UI benefits. Please consider applying online until full hours are restored.

    1. William,

      If everything goes well, it should not take more than 7-10 business days (waiting week). Please call the Claims Center for more.

  4. I was employed by a VA company for 5 years, my contract ended yesterday (07/31/19), however, I worked remotely for those 5 years and live in FL, which state do I apply to for my unemployment benefits?

    1. Oscar,

      Please check with your employer if they remitted UI taxes into the system. Contract workers are generally not eligible.

        1. Oscar,

          In that case, please go ahead and apply if your employer remitted UI taxes into the system.

    2. You apply in Virginia…however, I worked seasonally and they used a ‘quarter’ that was empty, so even though my employer paid in, I only got a 1/3 of what I should have received. Figured that out later :/ They will also question WHY you aren’t able and available to work IN Virginia. They froze my account for about a month.

  5. I worked 37 years with the same company in Texas. On July 2nd of 2018, I was let go due to workforce reduction. I signed up for benefits several months later and now have drawn my 26 weeks of benefit. Is there any program currently open in Texas or federally that will extend additional money while job seeking?

    1. Lonnie,

      The E.U.C(Emergency Unemployment Compensation) remains expired. There is no extension available. Please inquire further with the labor authorities in your state by calling them.

  6. I have been an employee of my company for 34 yrs. My position is being eliminated but I have been offered another position for less money. It is a much more physical job that I am not sure I can perform well. I am 75. If I try to fulfill the position and cannot do it, will I still be able to get benefits if I quit? They want me to try it for a couple of weeks to see if I am strong enough and if I can afford the cut in pay.

    1. Lynda,

      I suggest you call the Unemployment Office to find out about eligibility before making a decision on continuation.

      1. I recently lost my job..i was late for work and they took me off the schedule..never told me i was fired..didnt ask for uniforms back. Another cook was andd has been late for work and he didnt get taken off the schedule.can i still get unemployment?

        1. Kandie,

          Please note UI benefits are only offered to claimants who lose employment due to no fault of their own. You can call the Unemployment Office for clarification.

  7. Are there any training benefits or programs that will pay for an advanced degree, such as a PhD which is needed to become more employable?

    1. There are multiple training programs administered by the Labor Department in each state. For more info, please call visit the official website of the Unemployment Office.

  8. I’m about to exhaust my Unemployment benefits. I was laid off from my first job and
    found employment then I lost my job and became unemployed again. I applied for benefits and have have almost exhausted my benefits but have not found employment. Can I file for an extension?

    1. Deanna,

      The E.U.C(Emergency Unemployment Compensation) remains expired. There is no extension available. Please inquire further with the labor authorities in your state by calling them.

  9. After reading your article it’s still not clear to me about requirements surrounding moving to another state and completing/continuing to collect. I have 8 weeks eligibility left, I am moving from MA to FL. The end of your article says: “Since it’s all virtual (online), you may still consider the option of continuing your claims from the base state even if you move to a different one until completion. As a responsible claimant, it’s your duty to inform the base state about your movement to ensure there are no hassles in the near future.”

    So it sounds like even once I am in new state I am eligible to continue to collect from my base state. I can just continue to do my required weekly job search and reporting to and filing in my base state (I do it via phone call-in). No need to complicate things by doing some crazy state transfer of benefits. Benefits also done via direct bank deposit and no need to change anything. Do I even need to tell my base state I am now living in a new state? Why? Thank you.

    1. Paul,

      For the ease of understanding, each state has its specific rules and laws with regard to administering Unemployment Benefits. It might be an obligation for a claimant to inform about the movement. For clarification, please call the Unemployment Office and speak to a representative.

  10. I was recently fired from my work 25-June-2019/due to me not meeting their “standards/ expectations” i submitted my UE claim on 28-June and have not received any pay as of today, 19-July. The status is currently “adjudication in progress,” my question is, should i be worried this will be denied? I read the FAQ on the UE webpage and it said only a couple applications require the adjudication process. How long does this process usually take to get the final answer of whether I’m denied or approved? The website stated it susuallt takes ~25 days for the adjudication process, does this mean once that’s done then i still have to wait another 2-6 weeks for final processing after? THANK YOU SOO MUCH to whomever is able to provide me with some answers/ input.

    Sincerely,
    Talia
    ** this is my first time ever being fired or having to file for unemployment so i really have nooooo idea what is standard or normal or whatever. I feel like an idiot with my simple questions but it would bring me so much relief having them answered, truly

    1. Talia,

      I can understand your reason for the anxiety. Adjudication is a fact-finding process where both the claimant and the employer will get an opportunity to present their case. During this process, make sure to produce supporting documents that amplify your stance. For all you know, the adjudication can be a lengthy process.

      Best Wishes!

  11. I was permanently severanced from my job due to a Co. Reorg & received my last severance pay last week. I called UE & was told that I should now do my application online since I will no longer be getting funds & still without a job & that this coming Sunday regardless of knowing if I will or will not get benefits yet that I should still file a weekly claim in case of UE back pay.
    So my question is, do I still have to report 4 jobs applied to within this week, even if I do not know if I will be approved/denied for benefits until possibly next week anyway?

    1. Lynda,

      You should continue to report the job applications as long as you’ve been asked to do so. There will be a “Waiting Period” and the first payment will take about 7-10 days after which they’ll flow much quicker. Please call the Claims Center for clarification.

  12. I tried to transfer from one state to another. When I left Montana I was told there would be no problem transferring. When I arrived in North Carolina I had trouble reaching the area manager by phone. When he finally called me back he said to meet him for lunch to discuss when and where I would be working. He did not show up for lunch. Then he never returned any of my calls. I went PA to visit a friend a few weeks later and tried there. I met with the hiring manager and was told there should not be a problem doing the transfer since I was still in the system. I called the store a few times and they said it was still pending. Then I was terminated without even a phone call. Am I eligible for unemployment and if so do I file in Montana or North Carolina. I still have a Montana drivers license but I am living in NC.

    1. Stacey,

      As long as you were unemployed involuntarily, you should be able to claim UI benefits. Please consider applying.

  13. I have worked for 32+ years and recently have become unable to work due to health reasons, so I have had to resign from my job. I have contacted SS and will be able to apply for disability but it will take awhile to process. Can I apply for unemployment benefits? I live in WV.

    1. Sandra,

      UI benefits are only extended to claimants who lose their employment due to involuntary reasons. Please reach out to the Unemployment Office for more.

  14. I had to quit my job at Walmart in Fairmont West Virginia and moved back to my home state ky, I’ve got a son with drug problems and 3 older sisters that are not doing so well in health cause of their age. I didn’t understand about the transfer part they had at Walmart that I could put a date when I could start back because of my car problems I thought when I left I had to go in like in s few days, I’ve applied here at Walmart in Winchester ky 40391 two times already plus dollar store, speedway, truck stop, bp, a few other places it’s been going on 7 months without a job I live with my son and its getting harder on him paying rent and utilities and food, not to mention our personal hygiene stuff I really need help I have no income coming in to help him and his wife out I get foodstamps and Medicaid I was praying I could qualify for unemployment PLEASE HELP!!!

    1. Vicky,

      I can understand your situation. Unfortunately, UI benefits are only extended to claimants who lose employment due to involuntary reasons. Please call the Unemployment Office for further clarification.

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