What to Do When the Unemployment Checks Stop Coming In

by Sean Bryant on July 21, 2017


Losing a job is never easy to get over. However, it can help to know that you have the cushion of unemployment for financial relief. After all, just because you’re no longer employed doesn’t mean the bills are going to stop coming in or your needs will suddenly stop. Unemployment benefits give you an opportunity to handle the bare necessities while you try and find another job.

So, what do you do when your unemployment runs out? Unfortunately, the benefits don’t last forever. While the period of time you’ll have the benefits will vary by the state you’re applying in, the term is not usually longer than a year. If you haven’t found gainful employment by then, what can be done to keep a roof over your head, clothes on your back, and food in your stomach?

Try to Apply for an Extension

The first option would be to try and apply for an extension. You’ll need to check with your state to find out if you qualify. For instance, if you lived in Chicago, you’d check to see unemployment eligibility in Illinois. They may offer the unemployed an opportunity to receive additional funds. Although the requirements for obtaining an extension are a bit steeper (you’ll need to check in often and have employers sign that you’ve applied for jobs), it can provide you with the money you need to get by.

Seek Other Government Assistance

There are other options out there for financial relief for the unemployed. You’ll need to contact your local government to find out what options are available to you. There are programs that provide a monthly cash stipend, food stamps, and assistance with higher education that could be needed to increase your chances of finding a job.

Think Untraditional Jobs

If you’re having a hard time finding a 9 to 5, you should consider non-traditional job hours or job types. Remember, you’re just trying to keep the lights on until you find a better job. Write a blog and earn money. Start a small business in an industry you’re familiar with. Or, perhaps you could complete odd end jobs like mowing lawns, cleaning carpets, or tutoring elementary students after school.

If you’re thinking of starting a business but don’t know where to start, you can contact your local Self Employment Assistance Program. These programs allow you to get training on how to start a successful business. They provide training, assistance with business plans, and more to help you get off to a good start.

Move Back Home

While it may have been a while since you lived at mom and dad’s house, you may need to see if you can go back. When you don’t have a regular stream of income, paying rent or a mortgage is rough. However, if you can find a friend or family member that will let you stay with them until you get back on your feet, you are saving yourself a lot of stress. Though they may want you to pay to stay with them, it’s going to be a lot less than rent or mortgage.

Losing your job was bad enough. Chances are you didn’t think it would be this difficult to find a new job. Now, here you sit with no means to pay for your basic needs. Although stressful, there are still things you can do to stay afloat as you try to find new employment. Check government programs, consider doing odd an end jobs, and even think about moving back in with your parents or some friends just to save on rent or a mortgage. In the meantime, continue to look for employment daily to increase your chances of being hired.

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Sean Bryant

Sean Bryant created OneSmartDollar.com in 2011 to help pass along his knowledge of finance and economics to others. After graduating from the University of Iowa with a degree in economics he worked as a construction superintendent before jumping into the world of finance. Sean has worked on the trade desk for a commodities brokerage firm, he was a project manager for an investment research company and was a CDO analyst at a big bank. That being said he brings a good understanding of the finance field to the One Smart Dollar community. When not working Sean and he wife are avid world travelers. He enjoys spending time with his daughter Colette and dog Charlie.

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