What to Do When Your Unemployment Benefits Expire

Government unemployment insurance (UI) benefits can provide you with a temporary financial buffer if you lose your job. However, those benefits eventually expire. If you are unable to find a new job before your government benefits have elapsed, you may find yourself suddenly losing your financial stability. In order to recover financially and get back on your feet after your government benefits expire, you must be proactive in your efforts to obtain new work, as well as to reduce your monthly expenses. It is also imperative that you anticipate the fact that your benefits will end and look for ways to compensate for the associated monetary loss ahead of time. The combination of finding new income sources and reducing your spending will allow you to regain financial control in the long run. Below are several tips and resources that can assist you when you stop receiving unemployment benefits.

Understand the Limits of Your Government Benefits and Plan Accordingly

When you apply for unemployment assistance you will be told when your benefits will expire. Use the time between your initial application and benefit expiration date to prepare. Your preparation must include actively seeking new jobs, reducing your spending and setting some emergency money aside in case you need it later.

Maintain an Active Job Search

While you are collecting government benefits for unemployment, you will be obligated to complete a certain number of job searches each week. As soon as your government benefits end you will be under no such obligation, although you must force yourself to increase your job search activities. Maintain a positive and proactive attitude. Seek out new job search resources and apply for work in places you may have originally avoided. Any job can help you temporarily. After you have reestablished financial stability for yourself and your family you can switch to a job in a field that you enjoy.

Apply for Other Local, State and Federal Assistance

When your government benefits for unemployment expire you may still qualify for other forms of assistance at local, state and federal levels. For example, temporary cash assistance for needy families (TANF) may be available to you if you qualify based on your family income level. Food assistance programs such as SNAP and WIC may also help to relieve some of your financial stress. Additionally, local assistance may be available to you through various assistance organizations and charities.

Reduce Your Debts and Monthly Bills

Financial planning is essential if you want to get back on your feet after government benefits end. One of the first things you should do before benefits expire is to write down a list of your monthly expenses as they relate to your household income. Compare the two lists and see where you can save money. Money saving options may include reducing your telephone, television or internet use. You must also consider selling unnecessary assets, such as spare vehicles. Moving into a smaller residence to reduce your monthly bill payments is also an option.

Take Advantage of Family Support

Keep your family informed about your financial situation. Take advantage of financial support from extended family members and friends, if any is offered. If you choose to accept financial assistance from family members or friends, clearly establish repayment expectations.

Use Existing Employment Connections and Establish New Connections

You may have former employers and co-workers who can assist you in finding work. Your former co-workers may have moved on to other companies that currently have job openings fitting your skills. Networking with existing employment connections in that way may lead to several new job prospects.

You should also make professional networking your full-time job until you find employment. Create new employment connections by joining employment and networking websites, posting on social media or attending local seminars and job fairs. Use a notebook or computer file to keep all of your new job contacts organized and keep track of pertinent information relating to each one.

Explore Part-Time or Freelance Employment

One of the best ways to get back on your feet after government benefits end is to expand your job search horizons. Instead of looking solely for full-time employment you should consider part-time work when it is available. Watching children or pets for neighbors can help you supplement your income. You can also perform yard maintenance or other tasks on a part-time basis. Online forums can provide you with several sources of part-time or freelance work including writing, photography, transcription and mystery shopping. You may choose to permanently perform several different types of part-time or freelance work in order to establish an overall income equal to the income you would receive when employed on a full-time basis.