Coronavirus: Here are your options for navigating the next 3 months if your finances are affected by lockdown
The coronavirus pandemic has caused the economy to plummet, with businesses shutting down to help contain the spread of the virus. While most workplaces have implemented work-from-home for its employees, several have had to lay off workers because their jobs simply can't be done from home. Thousands of Americans are now facing the looming threat of unemployment, due to President Trump issuing lockdown orders and declaring a state of national emergency in the wake of COVID-19.
Multinational investment bank and financial services company Goldman Sachs estimated that approximately 2.25M Americans could file for unemployment benefits this week. The data is based on an analysis of preliminary reports gathered from 30 states across the country. Bank of America on the other hand, projected that 3M Americans would file for unemployment benefits, reported Bloomberg.
With people taking to self-isolating and practicing social-distancing to control the spread of the disease, the unemployed are facing difficulties in terms of making a living and paying the bills, with no luck in job-searching. Being confined to your home can’t necessarily yield you a job.
Career experts Zippia have compiled a guide to help you find work during the coronavirus pandemic. Here’s what Zippia says you can think about when you’re on the verge of unemployment.
What should you do first when you lose your job?
The foremost thing to do before you leave your workplace is to confirm the continuation of your healthcare and collecting unemployment claims. Employers usually provide employees, especially those with a family, with an extension of a month or so in their healthcare plans. With people falling ill everyday courtesy of COVID-19, it is important to persuade the employer for a continuation of up to 3 months.
Ensure your eligibility for unemployment benefits so that your application is valid or your employer won’t trust your eligibility. Then you apply for your unemployment benefits.
Discuss your rental situation with your landlord. If you are unable to pay your rent for the upcoming months you will need to analyze the eviction section in your lease and talk to your landlord about it.
You may need to rely on some retirement savings. You can gain access to your Roth IRA or 401k or be able to take withdraw deposits made earlier and even avail a loan.
If you’re currently employed, secure a certain amount of your monthly salary aside as savings. In times of need, even the smallest amounts will come in handy. Cut back on unnecessary expenditures.
Check for disability insurance if you are sick. You may qualify for it especially if you’re showing symptoms for the disease or if coronavirus is taking a toll on your mental health.
Options if your hours are cut or you are on unpaid leave
It's good to have a plan B in order to achieve economic stability. So, look up and apply for jobs online that allow for their employees to work-from-home.
You are eligible to collect unemployment if you meet the following criteria put forth by the federal government: a) Your employer has temporarily ceased operations; b) You’ve been quarantined with the full expectation of coming back to work after; c) You leave your workplace due to risk of exposure, infection or to care for a family member
Food delivery is another part-time employment option, so you can make a few extra bucks on the side. Restaurants have closed their doors to the public but are still providing takeaways. They're teaming up with food delivery services like UberEats, Grubhub, DoorDash and OrderUp. The companies have also implemented contactless delivery so drivers don't come in close proximity of the customers.
Besides delivering food, you can also become a driver for Uber or Lyft. While it is an increased risk of contracting the virus, the companies are taking extra precautions with regard to the issue.
How to go about navigating through your state's unemployment benefits
State governments across the country have set up teams and great resources to aid you in an emergency situation or if you have contracted COVID-19.
The following people can seek help from their respective state: a) Those who are quarantined by medical professionals or a government agency; b) Those who are laid off or sent home without pay for an extended period by their employer directly due to COVID-19; c) Those who are diagnosed with COVID-19; d) Those who are immediate family members and caretakers of someone diagnosed with COVID-19
Most people that can avail these benefits are those who are unemployed as a result of being laid off or have drastically reduced work hours due to the coronavirus pandemic.