By Stephen Green
on April 27, 2020
Read in 4 min

2020 has gotten off to a very challenging start for many people all across the globe. This year will surely go down in the annals of history, and it's only April! Not only has the coronavirus pandemic caused a significant strain on the health system, but the practice of social distancing has put many different parts of the economy on pause. Further compounding the issue, we don't know when this pandemic will come to an end, so it could be weeks or months before many people can return to their jobs. While implementing these measures is paramount to slow down the spread of the virus, it comes with its problems. Due to these unusual times, there has been a significant and rapid amount of layoffs in various industries. Being furloughed isn't great either since it doesn't guarantee a job once this crisis subsides. 

If you got laid off due to coronavirus, it could make an incredibly stressful time feel even worse. Facing an infectious and potentially life-threatening disease with a dwindling income or none whatsoever is daunting. If this is your current situation, know that you aren't alone! While it won't change your circumstances, knowing you aren't the only one suffering through this situation can provide some solace and respite. However, there are several steps that you should follow that can help lessen the burden that rests on your shoulders. Doing these can help ensure that you are adequately protected and can get through these challenging circumstances as best as possible. 

File for Unemployment

If you got laid off due to coronavirus, the first thing that you should do is file for unemployment. Your employer should provide you with instructions about where you should solicit this benefit and the information required. If your employer didn't provide that information, you should visit your local government's labor department website to get informed. Each state might have different requirements, so knowing that is essential to keeping the process as streamlined as possible. 

In response to the economic strain that the virus has put on individuals, the government has implemented the CARES act. This law seeks to provide some monetary relief to those that have been financially affected. This law provides up to an additional $600 per week in Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation. This extra income will be on top of your state's unemployment-sponsored benefits. Additionally, they will be sending a stimulus check of $1,200 to individuals who made less than $75,000 last year. If you also have children, the federal government will be sending out around $500 per child under 16. If you're married, you and your spouse will each receive the check mentioned above if your joint household income doesn't exceed $150,000. While it's not a permanent solution, it's a life raft that can buy you some extra time so you can plan accordingly.

Know Your Benefits

If you had a full-time job that provided you with benefits, it's a sad reality to face that those benefits will be coming to an end if you were laid off due to coronavirus. If you feel like the virus has pulled the rug from beneath your feet, you're not wrong; these are unusual times! In most situations, you will at leat have coverage through the end of the month in which you lost your job. As such, your employer will give you notice of the official end date of those benefits. Before these end, you could either file for COBRA coverage or apply for a new health insurance policy, if you have room in your budget.

Contact Lenders

The current stimulus package, along with unemployment benefits, can give a small boost to your finances. However, there's a good chance that you will need more financial assistance to stay afloat during these trying times. Due to the unique circumstances that the pandemic has put on our economy, many lenders are offering deferral programs.

They have implemented these measures to provide help those that need it. This was it will reduce the number of people who default on their loans. Your mortgage lender, auto loan provider, and student loan lender could all offer you short-term support.

This help can come in a variety of forms, from allowing you to delay payments or waive interest for a short time. To ensure your credit isn't too gravely affected, you should always try and stay current with your loan payments. These aids won't come into effect automatically; you have to contact each lender individually to see what help they have available.

Analyze Your Finances

During times like these, it's imperative to take a good, hard look at your expenses and see where you can cut back. This effort can include changing your cable package, switching to a lower cell phone plan, or reducing frivolous spending. That said, whenever possible, retain some of your less essential expenses. Choose one or two things that bring you the most happiness and keep them. Researchers have found that keeping some small luxuries around helps you to focus and stick to their reduced budget better. 

Prepare for Next Job

Depending on your situation, you may able to return to your current job after the outbreak has slowed down. However, you should prepare as if you are going to need to find a new job entirely. While the long-term impacts on the economy are still up in the air, there may be job opportunities when the world opens back up. You should prepare your resume to be ready to start applying soon.

It's always a good idea to keep your resume up to date, so make that a habit. If you don't use websites like LinkedIn, Indeed and Glassdoor, don't skip out on them! Be sure to create a profile that helps get you noticed as social Media now plays a massive role in the job search process. Make sure to add any valuable connections, list your skills, and check these websites often! Finding a job might not have been on your plans for 2020, but with times like these, we need to shift and adapt to the changing times.

This is not legal, financial, or professional advice. Please consult a legal, financial, or professional advisor for your specific situation.