Suddenly finding yourself out of work is going to take a huge toll on your stress level of stress, not least because of the financial burden you are going to find yourself under. Not only do you need to look after yourself, but with a possible family to support, you are going to struggle when faced with the vastly reduced income from unemployment benefit. Should you find yourself in this position, we hope you are able to get back into work as soon as possible. In the meantime, here is some advice you may find useful.
Make sure you get the benefits you are entitled to. There may be a wait time while your benefits get processed, so you need to get on it as soon as possible. If there is a specific issue, perhaps because you can no longer work because of a disability, seek legal advice here if your benefits assessor disputes your claim.
Check your home insurance policies. It may be that you already have cover in the event of unemployment. You may also have taken out payment protection insurance on your mortgage and any other loans that are outstanding. Check your documents and speak to your lender for further advice.
You may be able to take a payment holiday or reduce your interest payments on your outstanding loans while out of work. Your bank and lending provider will be able to discuss the options open to you. In most cases, they will be sympathetic.
You may be eligible for a tax rebate if you lose your job midway through a tax year. Consult your local tax office to see if you are eligible.
Work out a budget plan and cut down on spending. During this time you will need to prioritise, so you will need to say goodbye to your luxuries, and avoid further ways of falling into debt. Buying food, paying your bills, and ensuring your home is heated are your priorities. Anything that can be deemed ‘unessential’ needs to be put on hold for a while.
Don’t bury your head in the sand when it comes to your bills. You don’t want to be faced with a large number of red letter bills, with threats and demands. Quite often, your utility providers may have a solution. This might include advice on reducing your energy supply, and giving you the option of paying a bill through installments, rather than in one go.
If you have an emergency fund, use this to pay off your debts. The threat of having them hanging over you is a stress you don’t need. If you aren’t able to pay off the debt entirely, pay as much as you can, and then see if your lender will reduce monthly payments.
Speak to your trade union if you lose your job because of redundancy or unfair dismissal. Your employer may owe you money, so you need to make sure you get what you are entitled to. Your trade union or the relevant legal service will help you receive the money you are owed.
Sell items you no longer need, and look for other ways to boost your income in any way you can. This might mean renting out a spare room in your house, finding work on a self-employed basis, or simply doing the occasional online survey to get you some extra cash.
Should you be out of work, don’t lose hope. As well as the advice given above, speak to other agencies who can help you manage your debts and get you back into employment. In the meantime, spend your time wisely looking for work, and improving your employability with any training you may be able to source cheaply, or for free.