If you’ve been unemployed or put on a temporary, unpaid leave (furloughed) recently, you aren’t alone. According to CNBC.com, Google searches for, “What does furlough mean?” are up more than 5,000% over the last 30 days.
Look below for relevant tips to help you figure out your next move.
Furloughed employees, and not just the unemployed, qualify for unemployment benefits, even if the furlough is only a week long. The amount a furloughed employee may gain will vary by state. Your eligibility will depend more on whether or not you worked and made money each week, and not whether you were laid off or on furlough.
Learn here: How you can be a financially savvy man
While it may vary by state, in many areas, you can sign up for unemployment your first day. Your benefits may take awhile to process, but you will receive retroactive payment bundled into your first unemployment check.
Never has maintaining your health been more important, especially after the added stress of unemployment or furlough. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, 49% of U.S. households receive employer-sponsored health insurance. If you are suddenly left without the insurance you need, keep reading.
Some people are furloughed with full benefits. In that case, your vision, dental, and general health insurance remain active throughout your stated furlough period. Still, health insurance plans often cover “full time employees,” and depending on your furlough, you may not have the hours you need a month to meet those qualifications.
Fortunately, there are options. Anthem Health offers various coverage options for people who have recently experienced job loss. And don’t forget about Medicare. No matter your state of employment, you can apply for Medicare in a seven month window surrounding your 65th birthday.
Additionally, you may qualify for Medicaid if you are below the income limits in the state where you reside, have high medical bills, or receive Supplemental Security Income. If you are unemployed and receiving unemployment compensation, there is a good chance you could meet your state’s income eligibility requirements.
For unemployed people, begin your job hunt as soon as possible. One of the risks of furloughing employees is losing those employees to other companies. As a furloughed employee, you could start a new job search. Yes, even furloughed people, who technically do still have a job, may find a part-time job to help in the interim and remain financially stable.
Grocery stores, warehouses, and delivery services always have openings and need new workers. Service jobs could provide the stopgap you need until you find a better fitting alternative. You will want to research the options in your state to see if you can find a part-time job and keep your unemployment check.
Some companies that furlough employees continue to offer free training tools so you can gain important skills and improve your resume. Not only is it a great use of your time, but you’ll have something positive to focus on, and may boost your chances at snagging a new employer too, if you so desire. Hop on your company’s website to see if it provides a continuing skills resource checklist.
Line up your health insurance and begin job hunting as soon as you become unemployed or furloughed. Brush up on your skills, polish your resume, and you’ll soon be back in the game.