Financial Help for Unemployed – Government & Local Programs

By | February 14, 2019

Financial Assistance For Laid-Off Workers – Unemployed, laid offfurloughed or had your hours cut?  You may be eligible for emergency financial help with bills.   For instance, there are programs local programs that offer emergency financial assistance for basic living needs. You may be able to get partial or full-time financial aid and other types of assistance.  The first thing you want to do is file for unemployment benefits.  It will take a few weeks for benefits to kick in so apply as soon as you have been fired or your hour severely cut.

Inform your landlord/mortgage company, utility, credit card, and car loan company, to let make them aware of the change in your financial situation.  Often they are happy to work with you.  It’s difficult when you don’t know when your next check is coming or how you are going to care for your family. However, financial help available is available until you get another job.  Let’s find out where to look for help.


File for Unemployment Benefits Right Away

All employees pay federal and state unemployment taxes (FUTA tax pays and SUI State Unemployment Insurance) So, don’t feel like you are getting a handout.  This money is deducted out of your check periodically in the event you are laid off.   You can file if you are unemployed or if your hours have been severely cut. What if my claim is disputed?  Make sure to have affidavits, times dates and proof of your claims to challenger your employer.  The average person looks for work for 43 days before they find a job.  So, even if you feel you will get work right away file for your benefits.

How to File for Unemployment Benefits

Once you file for unemployment benefits, they will determine if you are eligible, how much you receive, and the length of time you will receive these benefits.  You must meet your State requirements, based on your earnings when you worked, before unemployed. Benefits are determines based on 4 out of 5 quarters before you file.  Have all the documentation necessary ready for submission.

  • Be honest and accurate in all your statement, as they will be checked.
  • You cannot receive benefits if you were fired for failing to do your job, lateness, stealing, insubordinate to superiors, etc.
  • You will be contacted to report the Unemployment Insurance Claims Office for an interview. It is mandatory to keep that appointment or your claim will be denied.

Unemployment Check List – Things you Need to Do

  • Make a new budget – It is time to shift gears emotionally and financially.
  • Update your resume – Dust off the old resume and revamp it for your new job hunt.  Use your strengths to impress.
  • Network with friends, family, and past co-workers – A great way to find out about a job opening, is through word of mouth!  Let people you know, you are looking for a new job.
  • Manage your savings – If you have savings add it to your budget and use it for essential things like rent or mortgage.
  • Use Caution using Credit Cards – Let your credit card holder know that you are out of work, and ask for a lower payment. It is advisable to put a freeze on all your credit cards except one for emergencies.
  • Make Use of Food Pantries – No one likes to ask for charity.  However, it is good to know there are food pantries and food backs near you.  They help feed your family for a short while.
  • Apply for Expedited SNAP – Expedited SNAP benefits are provided to families in emergency situations. You may be able eligible for the second month you are out of work.  This is because they count your income for the previous month.
  • Apply for COBRA – If you presently have insurance, you have the option of purchasing COBRA so you have no lapse in medical benefits.
  • Apply for Hospital Sliding Scale – If you can not afford COBRA, go to your local hospital to apply for their sliding fee scale.  You can be covered up to 100% for medical treatment and prescriptions.  Contact the hospital in your area to find out if they have a medical assistance program.
  • Take Time for Yourself – It is helpful to step back and look at your situation objectively.  A positive attitude will help you get through this difficult time. Pray, meditate, exercise, or talk to a good friend or clergy for inspiration.

Charities That Help Furloughed & Laid Off Workers

Catholic Charities

Catholic Charites is a non-profit organization that works with community organization corporations and the government to give back to the community.  If you need help with groceries, most locations have pantries and you can walk in to get a few bags of groceries for the family.  Catholic Charities help with many issues, not just rent and utilities.  They also,


  • Pay bills
  • Give furniture
  • Provide clothes
  • Distribute groceries
  • Provide counseling

More info

The Salvation Army Can Help with Bills

The Salvation Army doesn’t just run thrift stores. They also have a great job training program, for those seeking to refresh old job skills and acquire new ones. Make an appointment for skills assessment testing and to speak to a counselor. They will help to steer you in the right direction, help with resumes and if you want to go to school they will help you with that as well. When you are ready, they have job opportunities for you to pursue. (More)

Government Assistance Program That Help Unemployed Workers

Government assistance programs can help with bills. Depending on your financial situation you may be eligible for partial and even full benefits. Any unemployment benefits are considered income.    Check the Benefits Calculator to see if you are eligible.  If you qualify, the next step is to fill out and submit, and application. If you have children you may qualify for benefits like,


  • SNAP – Food benefits for the family
  • Medicaid – Medical benefits for children
  • WIC – Additional nutritional assistance for pregnant women and children under 5
  • TANF – Temporary Assistance for Needy Families

This assistance is available for the disabled, unemployed and working families that qualify financially.  You will be glad to know, you can apply for these services online.

How to Get Help for Utility Bills

Each winter LIHEAP (Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program) sends out checks for up to $350, to help deserving families pay winter heating bills. If you are out of work, this extra assistance can make a real difference to you and your family. Every year it is reported that several elderly people freeze to death in their homes, because of a lack of adequate heating.

If you have been struggling to pay your heating bill, find out if you qualify for the Heating Assistance Program.  The government funds each state with the finances to distribute to those who meet the states poverty standards.  LIHEAP will make a payment directly to your utility company.  Also, you will receive a check in the first week of February to be used for utility bills. Check are handed out the first week of February. It is important to apply in August – September because the funds are given out on a first come first served basis.  (more)

Am I Eligible for Heating Assistance?

You may qualify for help if you have been unemployed for a long period of time.   If you need help with heating contact the Low Income Heating Assistance Program (LIHEAP).  You are eligible if your gross family income is at or below U.S. Federal Poverty Guidelines.  Go to usa.gov and search LIHEAP in your state.    Call or visit your local Department of Social Services, or community assistance agency to be put on the list to receive help.


You qualify for LIHEAP if you are receiving:

  •  Food Stamps/SNAP
  •  Receive Unemployment Benefits
  •  Veterans Benefits
  •  Section 8 or Federal Public Housing
  •  TANF- Temporary Assistance for Needy Families
  •  National School Lunch Program
  •  Supplemental Security Income SSI

You can also receive help if work, but your total household income is at or below 135% of the Federal   Poverty Guidelines.

Government Grants for Unemployed and Displaced Workers

The Department of Labor is working with many organizations such as the Job Link and Career Voyages, to provide a number of benefits to those who are unemployed and under-employed. You will find assistance in preparing or updating your resume, filing for unemployment and receiving the grant you will need to go back to school.  If you are unemployed, now is the time to consider getting training for another career, strengthen current skills, or gain skills you need, to start a business. There are government and secular agencies willing to help guide you, through this new journey.  This program helps those looking to improve job opportunities get additional training.



Job Training Resources For Displaced Workers

Work Investment Act – The WIA provides you with free money for school.   They will pay for you to take a college certificate course, nursing school or to learn a new skill.  The bottom line is, they will pay for you to go to school for up to two years!  WIA can help you reach their career goals.  Call Job Link in your state to find  WIA services if you want to return to school.  (more info)

You are eligible for a WIA grant if you:

  • Receive unemployment
  • You are a furloughed worker
  • You receive government assistance
  • Meet the government income guide
  • Receive food stamps
  • Have been or will be laid off

The Job Link for Job Searches

The Job Link is a one-stop resource center.  It can help you fine-tune your career goals, whatever they are.  Employment Commission works with the JobLink is support the community.  They can help you gain a certificate or receive a two-year degree.

Workshops Offered by the Job Link

  • Current job postings
  • Access to computers
  • Veteran’s Services
  • Job counseling and for career assessment
  • Classes on job retraining and grants
  • Resume preparation workshops
  • JIS (Job Information System), thousands of job openings in your state.
  • Reference Library with books, brochures, videos, training, and the labor market
  • Workforce Investment Act (WIA) Services

Career Voyages

Career Voyages working with the US Department of Labor and Education to provide information on current job trends and skills required to be marketable in today’s workforce. There you can find apprenticeship programs and short term education that leads to certification in all fields of today’s employment environment.

Other Job Training Resources

  • USA Jobs – usajobs.gov 
  • U.S. Department of Labor – 877-872-5627
  • Goodwill Industries International –  800-741-0186
  • Veterans Preference Programs –  866-4-USA-DOL
  • Federal Career Development – 202-606-1800
  • Funding Opportunities and Grants – grants.gov 

Do I Qualify for Child Care Assistance?

The Human Services Child Care Assistance Program, (CCAP) provides financial assistance to low-income families, in need of affordable child care. You may be eligible if you are working and your earnings are below the national poverty level. Also, if you are attending school full-time.  Child care can easily be one of your highest bills other than rent; especially, if you are a single parent or have more than one child.

How Do I Apply for Child Care Assistance?

Go to the Department of Social Services website to download an application or go to the Department of Human Services to fill out an application in person. A face to face meeting will give you the opportunity to ask questions and receive accurate information. Make sure that you have the proper documentation, to help speed up the process.

You will need to bring these things to your appointment,

  •  State Photo identification
  •  Current payroll stubs or a W-2 forms
  •  Documentation from the government assistance program
  •  Social security cards for each family member
  •  Proof you are attending school or training program

Taking these documents with you will speed up the time it takes us to process your application for assistance. The Department of Social Services will give you a list of approved child care agencies and individuals.  Vouchers are given to your child provider when approved.

The childcare facility you choose must be a,

  •  Licensed daycare
  •  School program
  •  Licensed child care center run by the Department of Defense
  •  Registered with the state; with no more than 6 children

  In Conclusion

Losing a job is very stressful.  Hopefully, our resources help you find the help you need until you get back to work. Being unemployed is difficult, but it can also be the best thing that happened to you. It may have released you from a dead-end job that you hated, and set you on a new path to go to school or start your own business. Be assured, whatever happens, know you are the master of your own fate!

Use all the tools you need, to get through this difficult time, you will be back to work or finish school before you know it.  There are many more things you can do to get help will bills, go back to school, and even get help with home repairs. If you have any questions, email us at [email protected], leave a comment below or visit our Facebook page.

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