Times were hard enough when you first found yourself being furloughed from your job. But, now, months later, you’re facing a more permanent and even devastating layoff. You’re not alone, as millions of Americans continue to discover their positions are no longer available to them.
You may be feeling discouraged right now. However, you do have several options available to you as you officially experience a layoff. Today, we’ll highlight three things you should know now that can help you carve out your work strategy moving forward. And hopefully, this will offer some direction and guidance you need on the next step in your career journey.
1. Finding New Benefits with Your Official Unemployed Status
When you were furloughed, you might have continued to enjoy certain benefits, including income and company-sponsored health insurance or retirement savings. But once you’re officially laid off, those benefits disappear. Here are the new opportunities and support you have at your disposal to help fill those financial and sustainability gaps.
The first step you should consider taking involves exploring your unemployment benefits within your state. There can be traditional funds available to you weekly, which can be helpful in keeping your finances afloat while you look for a new job. But there are also supplemental funds available as the federal government authorized additional $300 per week increases to those traditional unemployment payments. Look for your state’s pandemic unemployment application process and apply. Even if determinations take a few weeks, approved payments will be retroactive.
Workforce Development Programs
Many states have additional funding for workforce development programs to help those newly unemployed find new opportunities. Check your state’s roster of programs. Services like resume writing and fresh job postings can be a few clicks away.
COVID-19 Relief Programs
There are still numerous pandemic relief programs still in effect right now. Schools are offering free school lunches to qualifying children. Area pantries provide weekly food and nutrition stipends. Local businesses and organizations are extending free wi-fi to area residents without internet connections at home. To help you continue to make ends meet between jobs, look to leverage any of these ongoing resources.
2. Exploring Your New Employment Opportunities
When you were furloughed, you maybe didn’t worry about finding a new job because your old position was expected to call you back. But now, facing official unemployment, you’ll need to dust off the old resume and start looking for new opportunities. Here are a few tips to help.
The Economic Outlook Looks Good
Don’t get discouraged. The economic data looks promising, and nationwide, businesses are venturing back to normal operations. New job openings are popping up every day. So, be sure to check the popular job boards daily, including Indeed.com, CareerBuilder.com, and LinkedIn.com. Tell your friends and family that you’re officially on the job hunt, as well. Referrals can come from anywhere.
Remote Working Options
Take stock in your current situation. You might not be in an ideal position to rush back to an on-site job because of a childcare issue or a new health condition. Fortunately, today’s economy is more open to embracing remote workers. You can likely find great job opportunities online with remote options and expand your job search area as a result. If you can work from home with your particular set of skills, the job market can become a nationwide search.
Reworking Your Resume for Success
Before sending your resume, be sure you update your information to include your recent furlough period. Explaining to a new potential employer how resilient you’ve been over the last few months can be impressive. And remember, you’re not alone in your experience. Employers will be empathetic to your situation. Keep your resume fresh and include any availability you might have for virtual interviews. Don’t be afraid to ask your previous employer for references and endorsements, as well.
3. Health, Wellness, and Health Insurance Options
Transitioning from a furloughed status to an unemployed status changes things in terms of health insurance. You have options via the Marketplace to shop for new plans. And there are substantial tax benefits and savings available to those who qualify financially. You’ll want to follow through on a plan selection to make sure you and your family have ample coverage.
Special Enrollment Period
Losing your job, now or later, qualifies you for a special enrollment period. This means you can hop online and browse the Marketplace for available health insurance plans. You can enroll immediately, pay your premium, and have coverage immediately. Keeping yourself and your family covered is essential as you look for new work. Generally, you’ll have a window of time to browse and make your health insurance plan selection.
Defining Your New Affordability
Before you select a new Marketplace health insurance plan, you’ll want to calculate your new level of income and existing expenses. What is affordable to you now will likely be different from what was affordable during your furlough. These affordability calculations will allow you to apply for premium tax credits that will significantly reduce your monthly premiums.
Free Services to Help You Find Coverage & Tax Benefits
Pandemic or not, W3LL is here to help. Browse the Marketplace with us and tap into free assistance with applying for premium tax credits, finding coverage, and officially enrolling. Explore the various tiers of plans, and get insights into understanding coinsurance, copays, and in-network provider requirements. Navigating on your own might be challenging, and having a free service partner like W3LL can help take the unnecessary guesswork out of shopping for and selecting a new Marketing health insurance plan.
As of last May, more than 15 million Americans were furloughed from their jobs. As states reopen their economies and businesses venture back to normal operations, the budgets are tight. As a result, many of those formerly furloughed employees are now facing permanent unemployment. If you find yourself in this category, you have options. Hopefully, these tips can be helpful as you carve your new way forward. And remember, W3LL can help you explore your health insurance options and tap into those applicable benefits.