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Good Tips for Using Unemployment Benefits

It can feel like the end of the world when you lose your source of income. If you have lost your job, you aren’t alone. Many Americans who have lost their jobs rely on unemployment benefits to make ends meet. The issue is that not everyone is aware of how to maximize the advantages they have available to them. You can boost your advantages and get ready for everything ahead in a variety of ways.

Ways to Make the Most Out of Unemployment Benefits

When people get unemployment benefits they may not know how to make the most out of them. That’s because it can just be an overwhelming situation to deal with.

Tips to Consider for Maximizing Unemployment Benefits

So if you find yourself getting these benefits, it’s important to know what to do. Some tips you can consider includes:

  • Get Ready to Pay Your Taxes
  • Take Another Look at Your Budget
  • Your Rent Will Creep Up on You
  • It is Essential to Have an Emergency Fund
  • You Can Speak to Your Bank
  • Consider Submitting a Claim for Extended Benefits

Get Ready to Pay Your Taxes

You can handle unemployment taxes in a variety of ways. Generally, when someone first applies for unemployment benefits, they have the option of having their taxes withheld. People can also fill out and submit a Form W-4V, which is a Voluntary Withholding Request. It will be sent to the organization paying out unemployment benefits to ask them to start withholding taxes. You should expect to pay at least 10% of federal taxes from your unemployment checks.

Take Another Look at Your Budget

If you receive unemployment benefits, you will need to spend more on essential items and less on extras. To put it another way, you must do everything possible to make sure that your resources will carry you for a while. Therefore, it is best to give rent, electricity, food, and health care expenses top priority. Also, try to put off settling your credit card debt for some time so you can concentrate more on what matters most. Even though that might seem like a foolish idea, it can actually help you handle your current financial circumstances.

On top of that, if you need to go shopping, remember that often saving money depends more on where you shop than what you buy. Experts suggest heading to low-cost food stores or 99 cents stores to buy all of your necessities. To get the most out of the benefits and increase your savings, you must choose carefully where to shop. So, put down that bottle of extra virgin olive oil, and fill your cart with only what you need. You can keep more of the unemployment benefits in your pocket if you live on a shoestring budget.

Your Rent Will Creep Up On You

Dealing with unemployment can be challenging. Your situation might get quite uncomfortable if you do not have all the rent you owe. This is why it is better to speak with your landlord as soon as you can to figure out a payment plan that suits both of you. This way, you will be able to pay your rent in smaller installments rather than all at once. However, preparing financially for your rent payments would be the best thing to do before it turns out badly.

It Is Essential to Have an Emergency Fund

It does not matter if you currently have a job or not, you always need to save money for emergencies. Even though you are receiving unemployment benefits, you might be surprised to find that you still have some money. However, you should try to put this money away and avoid spending it. When your unemployment benefits run out, this savings account will provide you with the safety net you need to survive.

Regardless of what happens next, you need to be ready. The simplest method to do that is to put some cash in a separate account. You will not need to set aside a fortune, but you will need to keep aside a little amount of money overtime. When the time comes, this will come in handy, and if everything else fails, this will be your last option.

You Can Speak to Your Bank

Your bank or credit card provider may be willing to enter into a hardship agreement with you. Banks can be surprisingly understanding, in spite of what most people may think. Additionally, you can talk to your bank about various payment options that will work for both of you. This means that you may be able to work out a payment schedule that works better for you. It might work out well for both you and your bank if you play your cards right.

Consider Submitting a Claim For Extended Benefits

Although receiving unemployment benefits is only a short-term solution, you can always request an extension. While a few states might only allow 13 weeks of extended benefits, the majority of states will provide you with a 26-week extension. This means that you might be able to get unemployment benefits for at least 13 more weeks. To get this extension, there are some important factors to keep in mind:

  • Your standard unemployment benefits have expired.
  • You are still jobless and hunting for employment.
  • The state in which you currently live has a high unemployment rate.

The state you live in and your current financial status will determine how this works, though. You should apply for an extension without hesitation because it will benefit you in the long term. Getting an extension of your unemployment benefits means getting more money, which will make it easier for you to put energy into job searching.

How to Apply for Unemployment Benefits?

The Department of Labor explains that people who are eligible to receive unemployment benefits are those who lost their jobs “through no fault of their own and meet certain other eligibility requirements.” In order to see if you qualify and start receiving benefits, you will need to submit a claim to the unemployment insurance program in your state. You can do this either online, over the phone, or in person. However, it depends on your state. You should take the following actions to apply for unemployment benefits:

  • As soon as you lose your job, you should get in touch with the unemployment insurance program in your state.
  • Generally speaking, you should submit your claim to the state where you were employed. You might have lived in more than one state or worked in a different state from where you currently reside. If so, the state unemployment insurance office in your current state can give you information on how to file a claim in another state.
  • The unemployment insurance company will require you to provide specific information when you submit a claim for benefits. This information may include the locations and dates of your previous jobs. If you don’t want your claim to be delayed, make sure to provide precise and thorough information.
  • Following the application for your unemployment claim, it typically takes two to three weeks to get your first unemployment benefit check.

Bottom Line

When you get unemployment benefits you want to make sure you get the most out of them. Besides planning your budget, you will need to create an emergency account. Additionally, you should contact your landlord to work out a fair payment plan for housing costs. Moreover, it might be useful to discuss a payment plan for your outstanding debt with your bank. If you have not yet applied for unemployment benefits, you can start the application process in person, over the phone, or online. Make sure to check with the unemployment insurance program in your state to see what options are available. Even though these are difficult times, knowing that you’re not alone and that this time is just temporary may bring you some peace of mind.


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