Editor’s Note: This story originally appeared on The penny hoarder.
Labor Day weekend marked a grim milestone for millions of people out of work due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Unemployment benefits ended for an estimated 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lost a weekly federal boost of $ 300 to state unemployment benefits, although the governors of 26 states had already withdrawn early from the program.
Expanded unemployment compensation has been a lifeline for millions of workers over the past year and a half. If your unemployment benefits just ended or were cut, don’t wait to take action. Here are several steps that you need to take as soon as possible.
1. Find a job in an industry that hires quickly
If you are still looking for a job, consider a bridge work. Basically, it’s any job that helps you pay your bills, even if it’s not your ideal job. Because many companies are having trouble recruiting employees right now, you may be able to negotiate better wages than in the days before the pandemic in fields that traditionally don’t pay well.
Some places to look:
- Data Entry – Many industries need data entry clerks and offer completely remote positions. The typical wage ranges from $ 10 to $ 15 an hour. If you have strong typing skills, becoming a transcriptionist is another option.
- Online tutoring: If you have a special skill or a college degree, landing an online tutoring job can help you earn extra money. The typical wage ranges from $ 10 to $ 27 an hour.
- Foodservice, Retail, and Hospitality – Across the country, foodservice, retail, and hospitality employers are hosting job fairs, with many hiring locally and paying higher wages than in the past. For example, these 160,000 restaurant jobs pay more than $ 10 an hour.
Also check out The Penny Hoarder’s work-from-home portal, which regularly features remote entry-level listings.
2. Take on a side hustle
Your goal here is to find some way to start generating income before your benefits end. There are many easy side activities you can take on now with a small upfront cost to start earning extra money. Some ideas include:
- Drive on Uber or Lyft. Rideshare companies Uber and Lyft have a driver shortage, making it possible for drivers to earn $ 25 an hour or more in some markets.
- Do odd jobs on TaskRabbit. Use the app to connect with people close to you who need help with tasks like assembling furniture, cleaning, and painting.
- Deliver groceries through apps like Instacart or Shipt.
- Baby sister. Find gigs through sites like Care.com and SitterCity.
- Pet care and home care. As people resume their travels, they will need services like pet sitting and housekeeping that weren’t in high demand last year.
- Sell things. It’s not really a hassle, but if you have items in good condition that you’re not using, you could pocket extra money selling them. For example, here they are 14 places to sell used clothing online or in person. You can also sell gift cards online for cash.
3. Search for rental assistance
While the federal eviction moratorium issued in connection with the pandemic expired on August 26, help is still available.
Congress has allocated nearly $ 47 billion to help distressed tenants, but obtaining a portion of that money is tremendously complex. What Vox reportedMore than 340 agencies are administering that aid, each with its own set of rules.
For more information on relief in your area, check out this state-by-state guide to rental assistance programs. Another good resource is the Consumer Financial Protection Office. rental assistance page. You may also qualify for help with utility and energy costs.
The 211 Helpline, operated by United Way, can also help you navigate local assistance programs. Just dial 211 on your phone and you will be connected to someone who knows your community resources. Due to the lengthy process involved, it is essential that you take this step as soon as possible.
4. Get food assistance
The 211 helpline can also connect you to the nearest food pantries. I also visited Benefits.gov to determine if you are eligible for SNAP benefits.
It can take up to 30 days to receive benefits through the regular application process, but you may qualify for expedited benefits depending on your state.
5. Contact your unemployment office
You may still be eligible for unemployment benefits from your state, but the rules will vary by state. Most states have a limit on how long you can receive benefits.
As difficult as it may be to deal with your state unemployment office, it is essential that you contact them immediately to find out if you qualify for state assistance. In some cases, you may need to submit a new application or request an extension.
6. Request tolerance from your creditors
Although banks don’t advertise forbearance programs as widely as they did a year ago, contact your lenders to see if skipping or delaying payments is an option. The best time to do this is always before you have not made a payment.
Be sure to ask how they will report your payment status to the credit bureaus. If they will report your payments as delinquent, your credit score will plummet.
If you have federal student loans, take advantage of the automatic forbearance that runs through at least January 31, 2022. You can request a refund of any payments you have made since March 2020.
7. Do not pay debts if you are putting your health or your home at risk
TO basic budget it includes only your basic needs: housing and utilities, food, medical care, and minimum debt payments. But in a true emergency, you may need to make even deeper cuts.
Try to work with your lenders. But focus on paying rent and utilities, keeping food on the table, and getting the medications you need before making credit card or loan payments.
Yes, it will hurt your credit score if you don’t make payments without your lender’s permission. But you can recover from bad credit. While your credit score is important, your health and housing are much higher priorities.
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