If you’ve lost your job, been furloughed, had your salary cut, or worried if your job is next, it’s undeniably stressful. COVID-19 has had a huge impact on the workforce, especially the job market. It can feel overwhelming to think about anything other than applying for new jobs right now, but there are a few immediate steps you can take to make your life a little bit easier while you’re on the job hunt.
The TL;DRRight now, you could receive an extra $2400 per month in unemployment insurance. We know it sounds like a hassle, or maybe it’s something you never saw yourself doing, but it’ll be worth it.
We completely empathize that applying for government benefits and health insurance plans is probably not what most of us envisioned even a few weeks ago. We’ve tried to make it as quick and easy for you sort out, so that you can focus on taking care of yourself, your loved ones, and finding your next opportunity.
Alright, here’s what you can do:
- Get an additional $2,400 in stimulus money + unemployment insurance
- Sort your health insurance (before you lose your company-sponsored plan)
- Extend your personal runway
Get your stimulus money
If you’re feeling weird about it or are unsure if it’s worth the hassle, here’s why we think you should prioritize it:
- If you’ve lost your job, had your salary cut, hours reduced, or you’ve been furloughed, you could qualify for unemployment insurance benefits, which can easily add up to a few hundred dollars per week.
- If you qualify for unemployment insurance, you’ll get an extra $600 per week in pandemic assistance thanks to the stimulus package/CARES act.
- These payments do not include the one-time direct deposit stimulus package payment of up to $1,200 depending on your income. You can check on the status of your economic impact payment at IRS Get My Payment website.
We read the stimulus package, figured out the math, and turned it into a quiz, so you can calculate your total benefits and get step-by-step instructions to help you sign-up.
As you have probably heard or experienced first hand, wait times for application approvals are much longer right now. But, don’t worry, your benefits will be applied retroactively.
Sort your health insurance
If you’ve been laid off, furloughed or you’re losing an employer-subsidized plan, it’s good to sort out your health insurance now. As tempting as it might be to procrastinate, the application and enrollment process can take at least a few weeks, and you certainly don’t want to be insurance-less in a pandemic!
Your key next step is to take a few minutes to find the most cost-effective plan for you right now. You might be thinking about continuing with your employer-provided plan through COBRA. This can be a good option, but it could be quite expensive depending on how much your employer covered. It’s worth exploring other options through ACA (“Obamacare”), or direct through private insurers. When you take our quiz, we’ll include our health insurance guide to help you navigate your options.
Extend your financial runway
COVID, among many other things, is not helping our bank accounts. Here are a few things you can do to help you financially weather this transition period:
✔️Check out our post and tools for detailing your income, assets, core expenses and discretionary spending. We know ️its not the most fun exercise but we tried to make it easy for you!
✔️Explore discounted and free services, cash assistance and job opportunities from our crowdsourced list of relief resources. You can filter the table by benefit type to discover the most relevant offers.
✔️Consider taking on a side project to help supplement your income while job hunting. Check out this list for some ideas.
It can be hard to handle all these things on your own. Under normal circumstances, losing your job can be unnerving. Now with all the added stimulus programs, and general complexities that come with an unexpected global event like the COVID pandemic, taking care of yourself can be more complicated than ever. You are NOT on your own and we are here to help if you need it.
Join the Mento community to receive more additional job support. They’ll be sharing more resources to help you ramp up on the job search, connect with you new job opportunities and offers, and manage your money in the time of COVID.