What to do if Your Unemployment Benefits Run Out

There are many people around the country who have lost their jobs to the financial repercussions of the economy’s recession. An increasing number of these people have been forced to rely on unemployment benefits as they look for work. Jobs are however very scarce, and many people’s unemployment benefits run out before they can get employment.

It is possible to access extended unemployment benefits if you meet the following criteria:

  • You work part-time or are currently unemployed
  • You aren’t eligible for new regular unemployment benefits
  • You have exhausted your unemployment insurance benefits
  • Your claim’s basis is on twenty (20) base weeks
  • Your base year earnings have been at least forty (40) times greater than your regular weekly benefits

If you therefore are in a position to qualify for a further 13 weeks of extended unemployment benefits, you are advised to follow these steps:

Contact Your State Unemployment Office in Due Time

The ordinary unemployment benefits last for 26 weeks. In this time you can contact the state unemployment office to confirm whether you are eligible for extended benefits. Doing so will give you ample time to explore alternative options to support yourself if you aren’t eligible for the extended benefits.

After Confirming Your Eligibility

Even if the office confirms your eligibility, you still have to get an official communication notice confirming that via mail, upon your current benefits termination. This communication does not assure you of the extended benefits – you still have to apply for them and get your application approved before you can access the benefits.

Once the Official Communication Notice is Mailed to You

The next thing you have to do is to find the appropriate forms to apply for the extended benefits. These forms are different from those used for ordinary benefits, and you can get them from the state unemployment office. Get down to the task of filling these forms. They are more detailed than regular benefit forms, and all the paperwork must be filled out if the application is to be considered. You are best advised to use the same state office you approached when filing for your regular unemployment benefits. Making this application does not assure you of getting the extended benefits. If you are unsuccessful you can always make an appeal but you should be forewarned that doing so is often a lengthy process that can also be quite expensive.

If you are in a situation where you can’t pursue extended employment benefits there are some options that you can pursue as below:

Strengthening Your Job Search Effort

There are a good number of websites/online job boards that can help with your job search. Some of these include GoFreelanceSnag A Job, Resume Rabbit, ResumeEdge, EssayEdge, Beyond.com, Executive Search Online, and Job.com. Freelancing is a really good way to earn money during these hard economic times. They will certainly serve the purpose before a conventional job is secured.

Getting Money for Necessary Expenses Including Housing

Jobless people who meet some specified financial criteria can apply to ModestNeeds.org for various unemployment bridge grants that will assist them in taking care of necessary/vital expenses. The grants are extended to persons who have recently lost their jobs (not to their own faults) and are yet to get new jobs or unemployment benefits. These are not loans and need not be paid back. The maximum sum offered is $1000 or one’s monthly house rent, whatever amount is greater.

Getting Food

Depending on your needs, family size, and income, you can qualify for free food supplies courtesy of FeedingAmerica.org. You simply have to login to the website and find food banks in your locality which you can then contact to learn about their distribution schedules and supply prerequisites.

Getting Heat

Eligible low income earners can have their heating costs covered via the federally funded Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP). The program makes payments to local heat utility companies on people’s behalf although applications take some time (2-3 months) before they can be processed. The Citizens Energy Oil Heat Program which works in certain states can be a sound alternative if the aforementioned period is too lengthy. Eligible people in these states get access to discounted oil. Read our article “How to Apply for HEAP” for more information on this.

Getting Medications

Job loss and the subsequent termination of unemployment benefits can be a real challenge especially for those on medication. The most vulnerable are those who, thanks to their unemployment status, cannot keep up with their COBRA payments. There is a sound alternative in this regard in the form of the Partnership For Prescription Assistance and through it eligible persons can access medications at really cheap costs or even for free. The organization’s website PPARX.org can be accessed to confirm the availability of desired medications and the programs one is eligible for.

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