This is the worlds leading source of financial content on the web, ranging from market news to retirement strategies, investing education to insights from advisors.
Forex Forever!

Help! My Unemployment Benefits Are Running Out

Author: Jacob Davis

Unemployment compensation was designed to provide income to people who lose their job. The problem is that benefits run out rather quickly. Your claim lasts one year (your benefit year), but most states only pay benefits for 13 to 26 weeks – a little more than 6 months – during the year.

During periods of high unemployment, the federal government may extend the benefit period, but at some point, benefits will run out.

If your unemployment insurance benefits are about to end, what happens next? Unless unemployment is so high that the federal government extends the benefit period, your options are limited. But if you prepare early, you can lessen the impact when benefits run out. Here are some routes to explore.

Self Employment Assistance Program (SEAP)

If unemployment is making you think it might make sense to start your own business, check whether your state has a Self Employment Assistance Program or SEAP. This program allows people receiving unemployment benefits to get training in launching a business.

Most states don't require people enrolled in an SEAP program to actively look for work; starting their own business is considered their full-time job, with many states requiring a full-time schedule devoted to training. SEAP members participate in entrepreneurial training programs, work with mentors and develop a business plan.

But SEAP isn't an extension of unemployment benefits. In fact, you must be early enough in your benefit period to complete the training. You have to be receiving unemployment to be in SEAP, and some states don't allow enrollment if don't have 13 more weeks of benefits left at the time you are accepted into the program

Because SEAP is paid for by grants, not everybody qualifies. If you meet the qualifications for the program, your state unemployment office will send you information. Given the time limitations, don't wait to be contacted. If you're interested in the program, call your state unemployment office for more detailed information and eligibility requirements.

The SEAP program does not supply funding for the launch of your business, but any income you earn from your new enterprise will not be deducted from your unemployment check.

Non-Traditional Employment

If you can't find a traditional 9-5-style job, consider something different. Perhaps you have a skill that would allow you to earn money as a freelancer. Another strategy is to contact a temp agency in your area and take a temporary job. Seasonal employment – sales jobs during the holidays, for example – are a third option. Baby-sitting, tutoring or even websites such as TaskRabbit might provide work. See Make Money Fast From The New 'Sharing Economy.'

You can also try to train in new areas related to your previous career or start a business of your own, even if you can't get into a SAEP program. Some businesses, including consulting, cost very little to launch.

Food Stamps and Cash Assistance

If your funds run low enough, you may be eligible for food stamps or cash assistance. Eligibility varies, but both options are worth checking out to help you get through a difficult period in your life.

Food assistance. The term "food stamps" is no longer used – the program is now the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program or SNAP – but the basics are largely unchanged. The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program or SNAP is a federal program that provides assistance to low-income individuals and families. Check your eligibility status by clicking here.

Check with your state for any other hunger-assistance programs in addition to SNAP, especially if you have young children.

Cash assistance. These programs, which provide cash payments and other services, are administered at the state level. For example, Massachusetts has the Transitional Aid to Families with Dependent Children (TAFDC) program.

The Bottom Line

There's no shame in taking a job outside of your career path, especially if your unemployment benefits are running out. Plan for the termination of benefits long before that day arrives. Once benefits run out, you have to be prepared.

last five articles

#1205 5 Secrets You Didn't Know About 401(k)s

Author: Daniel Davis

CNBC declared the 401(k) a failure for most Americans. It cited the fact that nearly 40% of employees have less than $10,000 of retirement savings.If you fall into that statistic, it's time to do something about it if your company offers a 401(k). But first, maybe you need a little more kn... see more

#1641 Après Ski to Profit: Investing in a Swiss Chalet

Author: Michael Jackson

Switzerland has long been revered for its pristine mountain landscapes, dotted with lovely villages that just happen to be home to some of the world's best ski resorts. Yet many Swiss nationals began to consider the dark side of their country's popularity among tourists when the booming market fo... see more

#1106 The Best Retirement Plans For Millennials

Author: Daniel Harris

If you're a Millennial, two of the retirement savings options available to Americans are particularly good for you. The decades before you'll need the money means you don't have to save that much to end up with a sizeable fund down the road. Look at these two options.Roth IRA... see more

#1456 7 Reasons Why Americans Retire in Thailand

Author: Michael Jackson

Retirement can be financially difficult for many Americans. The median retirement account balance in the United States is below a level that will sustain a retiree until death. With Social Security benefits on the decline, this provides many Americans with a retirement problem.If retiring ... see more

#1491 Understanding Home-Equity Loan Rates

Author: Christopher Williams

Shopping for the best home-equity loan is a little more complex than shopping for groceries. There are payments terms to consider and interest rates to factor in over a potentially long stretch of time. Several interest-rate structures are available to borrowers, namely: fixed, variable and adjus... see more