In response to the coronavirus pandemic, businesses across the country have been forced to temporarily either suspend all operations or dramatically reduce the size of their workforce. This has produced an enormous surge of unemployment nationwide. Suddenly deprived of the security afforded by a monthly paycheck, millions of Americans and their families have been left wondering what to do in the days, weeks, and months ahead.
Have you recently lost your job because of the COVID-19 pandemic? If so, this article has everything that you need to know about what you should do right away.
Your COVID-19 Unemployment Checklist
Navigating unemployment during the COVID-19 pandemic is an anxiety-inducing prospect. But always remember you are not alone. There are millions of others just like you who have been faced with the same challenges in recent weeks.
In light of that, here are the first things that anyone should do immediately after losing their job because of COVID-19.
- File for unemployment. As a result of the CARES Act, most Americans – including gig workers, independent contractors, and self-employed professionals – are now eligible to receive federal unemployment benefits. You can apply for benefits via your state program’s website. We recommend doing so as soon as possible to minimize the waiting period before you start to receive your benefits.
- Make sure you keep your health insurance coverage. If you were receiving coverage through your employer, you can apply for coverage extension through the COBRA program. If you’re eligible, you’ll be able to remain on your ex-employer’s policy for up to 18 months after your final day at work. Bear in mind, however, that COBRA coverage will require you to start paying entirely for your own coverage, plus a small fee. If you’re not able to afford your employer’s policy or you’re not eligible for COBRA, you should make it your priority to enroll in a new marketplace plan (losing a job qualifies you to enroll outside of the annual Open Enrollment Period).
- Build a budgeting strategy. It isn’t at all clear at this point when the majority of the country’s population will be able to return to work. It’s important, therefore, to build a personalized budgeting strategy that will allow you to stay afloat for the duration of the lockdown. This should be approached as more of a practice than as something to perfect right away. Your budget, in other words, will require some patience, diligence, and careful modification.
Thankfully, there are lots of resources out there that can help get you started with a budget. Here are a few that we recommend:
- 50/30/20 Budget Calculator
- Free Online Budget Planner (EveryDollar)
- Mint (app)
- YNAB (app)
- Sign Up for Tri Starr’s First To Work Program. When the COVID-19 crisis ends – and it will end – employers are going to be in immediate need of talented candidates who are ready and eager to return to work. Through our First To Work program, you can increase your chances of being at the very front of the line.
On the other hand, you might be worried about your prospects of returning to your previous job, company, or industry after the pandemic has ended. Jobs in the hotel industry, to name one example, are unlikely to return to their pre-COVID-19 status for quite a while. Don’t worry! Through the First To Work program, we can help get you connected to employers in different industries who are looking for skilled temporary, part-time, and full-time workers.
All you have to do is sign up online, and one of our recruiters will be in touch as soon as a well-suited position in your industry becomes available!
Be the First To Work
Are you interested in learning more about Tri-Starr’s services or about the First To Work Program? Submit your information online today to get the ball rolling with one of our expert recruiters!