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You’re Unemployed…Now What?

Millions of people have lost their job in the last few weeks due to the national crisis. Perhaps that’s you, and you’re not sure where to start. Here’s a checklist to consider as you look for solutions. Not all of these items may fit your needs, so consider each of them individually for your circumstance.

  1. Apply for unemployment. Each state has a different program. In Colorado, you can apply if your hours or wages reduced, or you were temporarily or permanently laid off.  To apply or learn more about Colorado’s program, please go to ColoradoUI.gov.
  2. Defer student loan payments. Federal student loan payments are automatically suspended between 3/13/2020 and 9/30/2020 and no interest will accrue during that time. Go to StudentAid.gov/coronavirus to learn more.
  3. Buy health insurance. Some of you may depend on your employer for health insurance. If your health insurance is no longer available, get insurance. Connect for Health Colorado is running a special enrollment period from March 20 to April 30. Learn more here: https://connectforhealthco.com/
  4. Look for work. Apply for work and ask you family, friends, and professional connections if they have any leads that make sense for you.
  5. Use your emergency savings. Your emergency savings is here for situations like this. If you don’t have emergency savings, and you’re still employed, start a savings account today with automated transfers as a backup for the future.
  6. Ask for help. If you have a loan somewhere (bank or credit union), give them a call and see if they will defer your loan payments. Make sure you understand the details. If it’s a good fit, go for it. Denver Community is deferring loan payments in many cases. Click here to defer a payment.
  7. Ask for help. Family and friends that are well employed may be able to help. Also, there’s no shame in using community resources such as food pantries to help you scrape by until you’re employed again. In Colorado, call 2-1-1 or visit 211Colorado.org to connect to critical resources and assistance programs.
  8. If you can, avoid loans against your retirement accounts, and avoid high interest loans.
  9. Lastly, unemployment is something millions of Americans are experiencing right now. You’re not unemployed because you’re not valuable. You’re unemployed because we are experiencing a pandemic and national crisis. If you feel sad, it’s okay. If you need access to mental health crisis support, contact organizations such as Colorado Crisis Services at https://coloradocrisisservices.org. You can call 1-844-493-TALK(8255) or Text “Talk” to 38255.