Editor’s note: This story originally appeared on The Penny Hoarder.
Labor Day weekend marked a grim milestone for millions of people unemployed due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Unemployment benefits ended for about 7.5 million people after President Joe Biden’s administration refused to ask Congress to extend federal benefits again.
Another 3 million people lost a weekly federal allowance of $ 300 to state unemployment benefits despite the fact that governors in 26 states had withdrawn from the program early.
Extended unemployment benefits have been a lifeline for millions of workers over the past year and a half. If your unemployment benefit has just expired or cut, don’t wait to take action. Here are several steps to go as quickly as possible.
1. Look for a job in an industry that is hiring quickly
If you are still looking for a job, consider a bridge job. Basically, it is any job that will help you pay the bills, even if it isn’t your ideal job. With many companies currently struggling to recruit, they may be able to negotiate better wages in areas that traditionally have not paid well than they did in pre-pandemic times.
Some places to search:
- Data Entry: Many industries require data entry clerks and offer completely remote positions. The typical wage is between $ 10 and $ 15 an hour. If you have solid writing skills, becoming a transcriptionist is another option.
- Online Tutoring: If you have special skills or a college degree, an online tutoring job can bring in extra cash. The typical wage is between $ 10 and $ 27 an hour.
- Hospitality, Retail, and Hospitality: Hospitality, retail and hospitality employers hold job fairs across the country, with many hiring locally and paying higher wages than in the past. For example, these 160,000 restaurant jobs pay over $ 10 an hour.
Also check out The Penny Hoarder’s job portal for work from home, which regularly offers remote entry opportunities.
2. Take up a sideline
Your goal here is to find a way to start generating income before your accomplishments end. There are many simple sideline jobs you can take on right now with a low up-front cost to make extra cash. Some ideas include:
- Drive for Uber or Lyft. Carpooling agencies Uber and Lyft have a driver shortage that allows drivers to earn $ 25 an hour or more in some markets.
- Do odd jobs on TaskRabbit. Use the app to connect with people near you who need help with tasks like furniture assembling, cleaning, and painting.
- Deliver groceries through apps like Instacart or Shipt.
- Babysitting. Find concerts through sites like Care.com and SitterCity.
- Pet care and home care. When people travel again, they will need services like pet care and home care that weren’t in great demand last year.
- Sell things. It’s not really a sideline, but if you have items in good condition that you aren’t using, you can pocket extra cash by selling them. For example, here are 14 places to sell used clothing online or in person. You can also sell gift cards online for cash.
3. Finding rental assistance
While the federal eviction moratorium in connection with the pandemic expired on August 26, help is still available.
Congress has allocated nearly $ 47 billion to help needy tenants – but getting some of that money is insanely complex. As Vox reported, more than 340 agencies manage this aid, each with its own set of rules.
To learn more about the relief efforts in your area, check out this federal guide to rental assistance programs. Another good source is the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s rental assistance page. You may also be eligible for help with utility bills and energy bills.
The United Way-operated helpline 211 may also be able to help you navigate local utilities. You simply dial 211 on your phone and you will be connected to someone who is knowledgeable about the resources in your community. Because of the lengthy process, it is important that you take this step as soon as possible.
4. Get food aid
The helpline 211 can also connect you to pantries in your area. Also visit Benefits.gov to see if you are eligible for SNAP benefits.
It can take up to 30 days to get benefits under the regular application process, but you may be eligible for expedited benefits depending on your state.
5. Contact your employment office
You may still be eligible for unemployment benefits from your state, but the rules vary from state to state. Most states have a limit on how long you can get benefits.
As difficult as dealing with your country’s employment office, it is important that you contact them immediately to find out if you are eligible for government assistance. In some cases, you may need to re-apply or apply for an extension.
6. Ask your creditors for indulgence
Although banks aren’t promoting deferral programs as widely as they were a year ago, check with your lenders to see if skipping or deferring payments is an option. The best time to do this is always before you miss a payment.
Be sure to ask how they report your payment status to the credit bureaus. If your payments are reported overdue, your credit score will go down.
If you have a federal student loan, use the automatic deferral, which applies at least until January 31, 2022. You can request a refund of any payments you have made since March 2020.
7. Don’t pay debts if you endanger your health or your home
A tight budget only includes your basic needs: housing and utilities, food, health care, and minimal debt payments. But in a real emergency, you may need to make even deeper incisions.
Try to work with your lenders. However, focus on paying rent and utilities, keeping food on the table, and getting any medicines you need before making any credit or debit payments.
Yes, you will damage your credit score if you miss payments without your lender’s permission. But you can recover from bad credit. While your creditworthiness is important, your health and home are far greater priorities.
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