Finance

How Do I Manage My Money Since I've Been Laid Off?

Alexandra Thompson
Alexandra Thompson15 Jul 2022

Over the first half of 2022, layoffs have been steadily rising due to the rise in labor costs and slower business growth in the face of the predicted economic recession and skyrocketing inflation rates. Unfortunately, with the increased cost of living and widespread layoffs, figuring out how to save and manage your finances has never been more critical. 

What To Do After You Are Laid Off  

When you've suddenly been let go from your job, the most important thing to realize is that being laid off is not your fault. Between the pandemic-related economic turmoil and companies having to navigate new financial and workforce challenges, there are very few things you can do to prevent yourself from being laid off.  

After receiving your notice of unemployment, it's crucial to stay calm and not panic. Although it can be stressful, panicking will not give you a clear plan on how to deal with your finances. Nevertheless, you should take four crucial steps as you navigate this temporary period of unemployment and limited income. 

1. Assess Your Financial Situation  

Sit down for a couple of hours and closely examine your new financial situation. If you have joint income, take time to review all the details and areas of concern with your partner or spouse. When analyzing your new finances, consider these questions: 

  • How much liquid cash do you currently have in your checking and savings account within an emergency fund?
  • What payments are coming up that cannot be covered with a credit card?
  • What are your current credit card balances? Can you make the minimum payment or more on them?
  • Is there a low-interest rate credit card that you can consolidate your others on temporarily? Relying on one lower interest rate card might be wise if you don't have a case to cover everything.

2. Determine How Much Your Spending    

Sit down for a couple of hours and closely examine your new financial situation. If you have joint income, take time to review all the details and areas of concern with your partner or spouse. When analyzing your new finances, consider these questions:  For example, you should look at how much do you spend when you go out to eat? How much are weekly groceries? How much are monthly utilities and insurance costs? After assessing your spending, look for ways to cut back on expenses and costs. Here are some examples that can help cut costs

  • When eating out, locate inexpensive places that are cheaper than your standard restaurant
  • Go to the movies instead of plays, and look for discount admissions tickets
  • Switch to a more affordable gym or membership option
  • Turn your thermostat down in the winter and up in the summer

3. Avoid Major Purchases  

Avoid major and expensive purchases such as a new car or TV during a layoff. Suppose you already have accumulated credit card debt. In that case, it might be wise to condense your loans into a single monthly payment with lower interest rates. 

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4. Create an Updated Budget 

If your new income still covers your expenses, you might only need adjustments to your budget. However, if your expense will not be covered or barely cover the cost, you should start to create a new budget based on your new income. First, you need to separate your needs from your wants. Shelter, food, health insurance, and some form of transportation are necessities compared to expensive steak dinners or $500/ month car payments. Before buying something, consider whether it is a need or want.  

Next, you should focus on cutting expenses and saving money by buying items on sale, utilizing coupons, canceling subscriptions that you're not using, and repairing items instead of buying new things. Finally, if you have outstanding loans, you should discuss with your creditor about possibly granting a payment extension or lower interest rates until you have secured another source of income. 

Applying for Unemployment Insurance 

Unemployment insurance is a safety net created to help workers who have been laid off. Unemployment insurance is dictated by local state governments, but is funded by federal and state taxes that employers pay. Each state has requirements for eligibility for unemployment benefits, so before filing, make sure you know your state's rules. In general, the following restrictions will apply

  • No-Fault Loss of Employment: most people who are eligible for unemployment benefits become unemployed because they were laid off or
  • Must be Physically Able to Work: you must be available for work and actively see suitable work

Filing for Unemployment Insurance 

As previously mentioned, unemployment insurance and benefits are regulated and approved on a state basis. In terms of submitting the proper filing for unemployment benefits, each state is responsible for its own unemployment office. You can also find a complete list of state unemployment offices at the US Department of Labor Workforce Security Site. You should file unemployment benefits as soon as possible since some states have a 1-2 week waiting period. As of 2021, you can apply online, by phone, or in person. You must provide your social security number, employment history for the previous two years, wage history, and union information, if applicable. 

Money Received For Unemployment Insurance  

The amount of money you receive weekly from your unemployment benefit can vary based on your previous earning history and the limits of your state. Below is a state-by-state breakdown of unemployment benefits as of 2020. 

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Unemployment Benefits by State 

State 

Max Benefits

Employment Agency 

Phone Number 

Alabama

26 weeks

$275/wk max

Alabama Department of Labor334-242-8025
Alaska

26 weeks

$370/wk max

Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development907-269-4700
Arizona

26 weeks

$240/wk max

Arizona Department of Economic Security1-877-600-2722
Arkansas

26 weeks

$451/wk max

Arkansas Department of Workforce Services501-682-2121
California

26 weeks

$450/wk max

California Employment Development Department1-800-300-5616
Colorado

26 weeks

$618/wk max

Colorado Department of Labor and Employment303-318-9000
Connecticut

26 weeks

$649/wk max

$749 with dependents

Connecticut Department of Labor860-263-6000
Delaware

26 weeks

$400/wk max

Delaware Department of Labor

New Castle County: 302-761-6576

Other Areas: 1-800-794-3032

District of Columbia

26 weeks

$444/wk max

District of Columbia Department of Employment Services202-724-7000
Florida

12 weeks

$275/wk max

Florida Department of Economic Opportunity1-800-204-2418
Georgia

16 weeks

$365/wk max

Georgia Department of Labor1-877-709-8185
Hawaii

26 weeks

$648/wk max

Hawaii Department of Labor and Industrial Relations

Oahu: 808-586-8970

Hilo: 808-974-4086

Kona: 808-322-4822

Maui: 808-984-8400

Kauai: 808-274-3043

Idaho

20 weeks

$448/wk max

Idaho Department of Labor208-332-8942
Illinois

26 weeks

$484/wk max

$667 with dependents

Illinois Department of Employment Security1-800-244-5631
Indiana

26 weeks

$390/wk max

Indiana Department of Workforce Development1-800-891-6499
Iowa

26 weeks

$447/wk max

Iowa Workforce Development1-866-239-0843
Kansas

16 weeks

$488/wk max

Kansas Department of Labor1-800-292-6333
Kentucky

26 weeks

$552/wk max

Kentucky Career Center Office of Unemployment Insurance502-564-2900
Louisiana

26 weeks

$247/wk max

Louisiana Workforce Commission1-866-783-5567
Maine

26 weeks

$445/wk max

Maine Department of Labor1-800-593-7660
Maryland

26 weeks

$430/wk max

Maryland Department of Labor410-949-0022
Massachusetts

26 weeks

$823/wk max

$1,234 with dependents

Massachusetts Department of Unemployment Assistance617-626-6338
Michigan

20 weeks

$362/wk max

Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity1-866-500-0017
Minnesota

26 weeks

$740/wk max

Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development

Twin Cities Area: 651-296-3644

Greater Minnesota: 1-877-898-9090

Mississippi

26 weeks

$235/wk max

Mississippi Department of Employment Security1-888-844-3577
Missouri

20 weeks

$320/wk max

Missouri Department of Labor and Industrial Relations1-800-320-2519
Montana

26 weeks

$552/wk max

Montana Department of Labor and Industry406-444-2545
Nebraska

26 weeks

$440/wk max

Nebraska Department of Labor1-855-995-8863
Nevada

26 weeks

$469/wk max

Nevada Department of Employment Training and Rehabilitation

Northern Nevada: 775-684-0350

Southern Nevada: 702-486-0350

Rural Areas and Out of State Callers: 1-888-890-8211

New Hampshire

26 weeks

$427/wk max

New Hampshire Department of Employment Security1-800-852-3400
New Jersey

26 weeks

$713/wk max

New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development

North New Jersey: 201-601-4100

Central New Jersey: 732-761-2020

South New Jersey: 856-507-2340

Out-of-state claims: 1-888-795-6672

New Mexico

26 weeks

$511/wk max

New Mexico Department of Workforce Solutions1-877-664-6984
New York

26 weeks

$504/wk max

New York Department of Labor1-888-209-8124
North Carolina

12 weeks

$350/wk max

North Carolina Department of Commerce1-888-737-0259
North Dakota

26 weeks

$633/wk max

North Dakota Job Service701-328-4995
Ohio

26 weeks

$480/wk max

$647 with dependents

Ohio Department of Job and Family Services1-877-644-6562
Oklahoma

26 weeks

$539/wk max

Oklahoma Employment Security Commission1-800-555-1554
Oregon

26 weeks

$648/wk max

Oregon Employment Department1-877-345-3484
Pennsylvania

26 weeks

$572/wk max

$580 with dependents.

Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry1-888-313-7284
Puerto Rico

26 weeks

$190/wk max

Puerto Rico Department of Labor and Human Resources787-625-7900
Rhode Island

26 weeks

$586/wk max

$867 with dependents.

Rhode Island Department of Labor and Training401-243-9100
South Carolina

20 weeks

$326/wk max

South Carolina Department of Employment and Workforce1-866-831-1724
South Dakota

26 weeks

$414/wk max

South Dakota Department of Labor and Regulation605-626-3179
Tennessee

26 weeks

$275/wk max

Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development1-877-813-0950
Texas

26 weeks

$521/wk max

Texas Workforce Commission1-800-939-6631
U.S. Virgin Islands

26 weeks

$552/wk max

U.S. Virgin Islands Department of Labor340-773-1994
Utah

26 weeks

$580/wk max

Utah Department of Workforce Services

Salt Lake and South Davis Counties: 801-526-4400

Weber and North Davis Counties: 801-612-0877

Utah County: 801-375-4067

Other Counties and Out of State: 1-888-848-0688

Vermont

26 weeks

$513/wk max

Vermont Department of Labor1-888-807-7072
Virginia

26 weeks

$378/wk max

Virginia Employment Commission1-866-832-2363
Washington

26 weeks

$790/wk max

Washington Employment Security Department1-800-318-6022
West Virginia

26 weeks

$424/wk max

Workforce West Virginia1-800-379-1032
Wisconsin

26 weeks

$370/wk max

Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development1-844-910-3661
Wyoming

26 weeks

$508/wk max

Wyoming Department of Workforce Services

307-473-3789


 

Source: CashMoneyLife 

Severance Packages    

Some companies will provide laid-off employees with a bundle of pay and benefits known as severance packages that helps cover expenses until a new source of income is found. The amount of pay and listed benefits of each package varies from company to company. It is recommended to talk to your company's HR department to find out its offerings and when you can expect to receive the benefits. 

Managing Your Healthcare and Insurance  

If your employer previously provided coverage for your health insurance, check with your company's HR department as soon as possible to see if there is a designated grace period while you seek out other forms of coverage. While unemployed, you might ask your spouse or partner if their employer will cover you and the rest of your family. If spouse coverage is not an option, you should start by comparing and applying for marketplace plans. With the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, marketplace insurance offers quality care without excluding you based on pre-existing conditions. After comparing the different types of plans you can prepare for the open enrollment period, which last from November 1 to December 15. 

While comparing marketplace plans you should also find out if you qualify for federal insurance plans such as  Medicaid, Medicare and CHIP. 

Another option for gaining affordable healthcare coverage is to enroll in a membership-based plan such as Mira. Subscription or membership-based healthcare plans allow you to pay a flat installment fee at a fixed rate (monthly, quarterly, or annually) that can cover a range of services.  

Bottom Line  

As previously mentioned, it's essential to recognize that being laid off is not your fault. In this time of economic uncertainty and financial crisis with the impending recession, employers are faced with making tough decisions. Nevertheless, if you are laid off, there are vital steps you can take to lessen that financial burden during your period of unemployment. In the same regard, having a plan and keeping health insurance coverage during your unemployment is crucial.  

With unemployment comes difficult decisions regarding managing money, reducing your overall expenses, and putting needs over wants. When accessing healthcare, you shouldn't be forced to eliminate or reduce your plan because of the cost. With a Mira membership, you get excellent care at a fraction of traditional health insurance costs. For just $45 per month, you get access to same-day lab testing, discounted prescriptions, and urgent care.

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