Although the financial crisis officially ended in 2008, many people are still continuing to lose their jobs across the nation. Even as late as 2014, the Los Angeles Times was reporting, based on a Rutgers University survey conducted by the John J. Heldrich Center for Workforce Development, that a fifth of workers nationwide had lost their jobs during that time period.
In order to help deal with this problem, each state government has a Department of Labor with an unemployment benefits program. For example, in Texas, unemployment benefits for citizens and legal aliens is through The Texas Workforce Commission (TWC).
1. Apply for Unemployment benefits.
Unemployment insurance (UI), which is based on a federal and state government partnership, is designed for those who have lost their jobs for no fault of their own. It covers those who are completely or partially out of work.
The unemployment benefits in Texas are based on three criteria:
1. You’re unemployed for no fault of your own.
2. Your past earnings meet up with the minimum amounts in your given base period.
3. You’re available to work if you’re offered a job that matches your knowledge and skills.
In Texas, 2017 unemployment rates hovers around 4.3, according to the NCSL, the National Conference of State Legislators. Some of these unemployment problems may be due to the nation’s price drop of oil and gas that occurred last year. A 2016 Dallas News story reported that the slump in oil prices affected 65,000 jobs related to the energy industry and 250,000 jobs in total.
The result of all these changes is that you may be unemployed for no fault of your own—even if you happen to be a highly skilled worker or well-educated in a technical field. If you happen to be in this situation, here are five steps to deal with the prospect of sudden job loss:
2. Negotiate with creditors to reduce monthly expenses.
The more you can reduce your bills, the less stress and hardships you’ll experience. In many instances, you might be surprised to find that creditors are willing to work with you once you explain your situation to them. They may, for instance, reduce interest rates or waive certain fees, to make it easier to manage. Don’t expect them to postpone payments, but they may minimize your monthly payment.
3. Consider a side hustle.
It may take a while to get a job in your field if you are not applying for entry level jobs. It can be especially difficult to secure a position quickly if you have extensive knowledge, skills, experience, and qualifications in a particular career. Consequently, you should be open to considering a side hustle until you land a well-paying job. Supplemental income can come from many sources, like temporary freelance work or creating an online business.
4. Design a budget.
If you have a budget, then you must reevaluate it based on your change in income; if you never bothered to create one because you earned far more than your expenses, now is the time to create one. A budget will prevent you from overspending on certain small luxuries so that money is available to cover your bills. It’s important to be strict about your cash outflow. If you don’t know how to set up a budget, consumer.gov provides some guidance. In addition, a money management program like Mint can be synchronized with your bank account and your credit cards to track all your expenses. This will give you a clearer idea about your outflow and what expenses you can reduce or eliminate altogether.
It can be difficult to deal with unemployment, but by applying for unemployment benefits, trying to reduce your monthly expenses, considering a side-hustle, and using a budget to stay frugal, you can create sufficient income until you find a regular job again.