Many of us have experienced unemployment at some point in our careers. It can be incredibly stressful, no matter where in one’s journey it occurs. If you’re facing this unfortunate circumstance, rest assured there are a number of resources available to keep yourself and your family secure until you’re in the workforce again.
Do I Qualify? You can receive temporary financial assistance through Unemployment Insurance (UI) if you become unemployed through no fault of your own. That means you didn’t quit, and you weren’t fired for misconduct. Programs vary across the country, though—for example, your state may have provisions if you were forced to leave your job due to a hostile work environment.
How Much Am I Eligible For? Your benefits will likely be based on a percentage of your earnings over a recent 52-week period, but every state has a different maximum. Keep in mind that you must prove that you are actively searching for new employment, and you must report the assistance you receive on your taxes.
How Long Can I Collect? Most unemployment insurance programs last 26 weeks, but again your state may have a different time span. Also, special government programs during economic downturns (such as the COVID-19 pandemic) can extend that coverage period.
Where Do I Start? Right here.
Other Options Besides Unemployment Insurance
Social Security Disability Insurance can be another source of financial assistance, specifically for those who are unable to work due to a disability. Or if you lost your employment or self-employment as a direct result of a major disaster declared by the President of the United States, you could qualify for Disaster Recovery Assistance.
Veterans' Employment and Training Service provides employment and training services to eligible veterans. Also, the Senior Community Service Employment Program is geared toward low-income individuals aged 55 years or older.
Programs for struggling families include the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, which offers food assistance, and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, giving financial assistance to eligible families with children.
There is a lot more information on the United States Department of Labor website.
Losing your job can be devastating emotionally, but fortunately, these safety nets are there to give you a helping hand while you’re getting back on your feet.
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