Unemployment benefits during Covid-19 are a financial lifeline to keep your head above water. Millions of folks in April and May received welfare checks for the first time. But unemployment is only meant to be a stopgap until you get back into work. And, there’s only a flicker of hope for a quick economic recovery. So, the prospect of getting your job again anytime soon may seem like wishful thinking.
If you’re currently receiving unemployment benefits, then you’re getting an extra $600 on top of regular benefits. But the Covid-19 extended benefits (that extra $600) will soon end. What can you do when unemployment runs out? How will you cope if there are no jobs on the horizon for you? Is there any prospect of a second round of coronavirus stimulus checks?
This article explores possibilities of what you can do if you’re jobless due to Covid-19. You’ll also find out about any chances of the coronavirus unemployment benefits getting another extension.
Unemployment Benefits During Covid-19
The Covid-19 crisis has caused unemployment to hit record highs. According to official statistics, the jobless rate in the US jumped to 14.7% in April. In May, there was a slight dip, and unemployment dropped to 13.3%. So, there seems to be a glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel. But there are still millions of Americans out of work.
There’s no doubt that Covid-19 hit employment rates hard. To help the newly jobless cope, the government introduced the unemployment benefits in the CARES Act. If you’re out of work just now, the package helps you in the following ways:
- Extra unemployment benefits — Anyone receiving welfare gets an additional $600 on top of what they would typically get when out of work. However, the bonus ends on July 31, 2020.
- Extended unemployment benefit time — The CARES Act allows eligible jobless persons to claim unemployment benefits until December 31, 2020. There is also the possibility that this scheme gets extended for 13 weeks after the deadline.
- Unemployment for the self-employed — For the first time in the US, gig workers and the self-employed who lost work due to Covid-19 can claim unemployment compensation.
The thing that’s worrying most people claiming welfare is the prospect of losing $600 a week. After all, jobs are scarce, and businesses are only opening slowly with limited capacity.
What’s going to happen if you’re still jobless at the end of July and $600 get slashed from your benefits? Many people are talking about a second Covid-19 stimulus package.
How the HEROES Act Could Affect Unemployment Benefits
The HEROES Act extends unemployment benefits. This $3 trillion coronavirus stimulus package aims to pump more cash into the economy. The bill will also put more money in your pocket if you’re unemployed. Sounds like good news, right?
With the HEROES Act — there is good news and bad news. The good news is the House passed the bill on May 15, 2020. The Act would extend Covid-19 unemployment benefits until next year and also send everyone $1,200. The bad news is the Senate still has to approve the HEROES Act before it becomes law.
How much money would you get in the HEROES Act?
The HEROES Act would come in very handy if you’re jobless and can’t find work. The bill offers more cash to Americans than the CARES Act does. Under the proposal, the HEROES Act would benefit unemployed folks in the following ways:
- You would continue to receive the additional $600 a week on top of regular unemployment benefits until January 31, 2021.
- Unemployment insurance payments would continue until March 31, 2021.
- The self-employed and gig workers can continue to claim unemployment benefits through March 2021.
To find out about the other proposals in the HEROES, please read this article — All you need to know about the HEROES Act.
It seems unlikely that the HEROES Act will come into law in its present form. But according to reports in the media, the White House may be considering extra stimulus funding to help jobless people. But it remains to be seen how much extra money you could receive.
How to Survive When Unemployment Runs Out
The deadline for the end of the Covid-19 unemployment benefits is approaching. There is no guarantee that the HEROES Act will come into law. So, in the meantime, it makes good sense to come up with ways to tighten the purse strings and get extra cash. Here are a few things to do when unemployment ends.
Save money before unemployment runs out
You may be able to turn some of your expenses into savings. Think about it — the gym is probably closed, and so is daycare. Taking trips in the car, eating out, or other recreational activities are either on hold or in short supply. While it’s no fun to be stuck at home all day, you’re probably saving a ton of cash. Also, it may be time to cut other non-essential spending to bulk up your savings account.
Contact your credit providers
The chances are that before Covid-19, a part of your income went to credit card and loan payments. If you’re struggling to make monthly payments, contact your creditors immediately. Many lenders have hardship programs in place to help borrowers get through the coronavirus pandemic. If you can get loan forbearance or a reduced payment plan, it’ll protect your credit score and free up some of your monthly budget.
Look for temporary jobs or online work
While many businesses had to close due to Covid-19, other sectors have experienced a boom. For example, online delivery services have experienced a massive jump in orders. This extra work has increased the need for drivers throughout the country.
If you’re unemployed and worked in the service industry, you could use your expertise and knowledge to earn extra bucks. For example, unemployed mechanics, lawyers, builders, sewers, and vets can make money answering questions on JustAnswer.com.
Please read the article on the best jobs you can do from home for more information on how to earn extra cash when unemployment runs out.
To help get online to look for jobs, check out how you can get cheap super-fast broadband.
Find additional benefits if unemployment benefits end
In your local area, many programs can help you buy food or pay rent. If your unemployment benefits stop, you will probably qualify for SNAP assistance (food stamps). You could also get assistance with child care or paying for utilities.
If you don’t know where to start looking, call 2-1-1 or visit their website to get access to help programs near you.
Other benefits that could give you a financial bridge between the end of unemployment and a new job include:
- Temporary Assistance for Needy Families — If you’re unemployed and eligible, you can get help to pay utilities, rent, training, and food stamps.
- Medicaid — It’s essential to care for your health — both mentally and physically — if you’re jobless. Medicaid provides medical assistance to people on a low income.
- Home Affordable Modification Program — If you’ve suffered a financial setback due to Covid-19, try HAMP. This program could help you make your mortgage payments, especially when the moratorium on evictions ends.
After Unemployment Runs Out: A Takeaway
Although there are faint signs of economic recovery, no one knows when the job market will return to good health. The HEROES Act could help jobless folks by extending the Covid-19 unemployment benefits. However, if unemployment runs out at the end of July, it makes sense to put plans in place now to protect your finances as much as possible.