“The Pink Slip”. I don’t know of any employer that actually hands out pink colored paper anymore when they let employees go. In fact, I’m not sure they’ve ever used pink colored paper to terminate employment. And yet, it seems to be one of the more commonly known colloquialisms that are out here.
Regardless of what color they use to do it, surviving unemployment can be an incredibly daunting proposition. Not only is there the perceived stigma of loosing your job, but the financial issues can quickly pile up.
I appreciate when people take responsibility for themselves and their situation. I appreciate the pride in being able to take care of things yourself. Surviving unemployment is one of those times where it is perfectly understandable to put that pride of self-reliance aside and take help that exists.
If it isn’t a regular occurrence for you, you may not be aware of the help that exists. If you are currently unemployed or know someone who is, well here you go. If you are not currently unemployed, bookmark this for the future.
Wait….. that doesn’t sound quite how I meant it. I’m not expecting or even hoping you end up unemployed. Not at all. I’m just saying that we never know when a company is going to hit their own financial issues or we see another downturn in the economy. That’s all.
So here we go:
Collecting Unemployment – Your current employer is paying into unemployment insurance while you are working for them. If you become unemployed or even less employed than you are now through no fault of your own, you can qualify to receive the benefits of that insurance. In South Dakota, the Department of Labor and Regulation handles unemployment insurance claims. You can find contact information and answers to a lot of questions here.
Choosing Priorities – There may well come a time when you simply don’t have the money to make even minimum payments on all of your debts and expenses. This is often one of the most defeating parts of surviving unemployment. So now you are going to have to make choices. Protect your absolute necessities first: housing, secured loans with collateral you stand to lose (like a vehicle), utilities, insurance, and child support usually make up the bulk of the list. It’s not that you aren’t going to pay the rest. You are just going to have to put it off for a little while.
Communicating with Creditors – For those lenders you have chosen to move down the priority list, be communicating with them. Communicate, communicate, communicate. Many lenders actually have programs and policies that allow you to skip payments in the case of hardships without any penalties. You just have to communicate with them BEFORE you are actually late with a payment. This can be one of those ‘swallowing of pride’ moments. After all, they have these programs and policies for a reason. Let them help you when you need the help.
Collecting Benefits – We all need to eat. I’m living proof that many of us don’t need to eat quite as much as we currently do, but we do need to eat. Programs like SNAP and TANF can help not only with food costs, but childcare and job training if your career is headed in another direction. Check out their websites to find out about qualifications and process. Calling 211 can also provide you with resources to help cover some of the gaps.
Controlling Budget – Wherever the money is going to come from, you will need to be much more intentional about where that money is going when you are unemployed. Having savings ahead of time will certainly help. But while surviving unemployment, you will need to be aware of where every penny is going and evaluate where every penny goes. I’m not saying you can’t spend money. You just have to be very careful and choosy about where you do spend it.
And there you have it – 5 “C’s” of surviving unemployment. It’s probably not going to be an easy time for you. But it can be made easier if you take advantage of some of the help that exists out there. Again, it exists for a reason.
It may not be the way you always pictured life going. But suing the help that exists will help you get through this rough patch and on your way to making life what you do want it to be.
One other resource can be the counselors at the Center for Financial Resources. From resource contact information to working with creditors to tracking spending, they can help you through the journey of surviving unemployment. You can schedule a confidential appointment online or by calling us at 605-330-2700.
written by Breck Miller
images courtesy freedigitalphotos.net
LSS Center for Financial Resources
Consumer Credit Counseling Service | Housing Resources | Sharpen Your Financial Focus| Financial Fitness Education
705 East 41st Street, Suite 100 |Sioux Falls SD 57105-6047
605-330-2700 or 888-258-2227
Strengthening Individuals, Families & Communities