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What To Do If You Lose Your Job

Chris Gottschalk

Chris Gottschalk About The Author

Mar 31, 2020 6:15:00 AM

If you’ve ever been laid off or terminated from a position, you know how stressful it can be. If it's any consolation, you're not alone. According to a Harris poll, 40% of Americans have been laid off at some point in their lives.

Losing your job is one of the most stressful events that anyone can go through. However, you can take some steps to not only make the transition easier but get back on your feet that much quicker.


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Discuss Your Severance Package With Human Resources

When you first get laid off, human resources may give you a severance package. What is in the severance package varies from company to company, but many companies will at least give you something. Usually, the employer will want you to sign some documents that include a legal release and a Hold Harmless Agreement to minimize their liability before giving you your severance pay.

While you are likely to still be in shock when the employer waves the legal documents under your nose, it’s to your benefit to look them over. Make sure you know what you are getting, and don’t be afraid to negotiate for more, like outplacement benefits. You may not feel as though you are in a position to negotiate, but you don’t have anything to lose at this point.

Understand Your Healthcare Options

One of the biggest benefits employers provide their workers is health insurance. Once you’re laid off, though, you’re on your own.

Woman stressed out | First Alliance Credit UnionIt’s no secret that medical care will bankrupt any American without health insurance. However, you are eligible for temporary medical insurance for at least 18 months under COBRA. This is a federal law that lets people who have lost their employer-provided healthcare continue with the same coverage for the next 18 months, provided they can pay the insurance premium, which was around $7,188 for single coverage and $20,576 for family coverage as of December 2019.

Fortunately, if you’re in Minnesota, you have access to MNSure, which will help you select a private health care plan. You can compare plan benefits and prices, and if you qualify as low-income you may even be eligible for Medicaid or MinnesotaCare.

File for Unemployment Benefits

Once you’ve left your job, your next step should be filing for unemployment benefits.
Don’t delay this step! If you do, you might discover that you’ve waited too long to qualify for unemployment. Fortunately, Minnesota allows you to file for unemployment benefits online.

Unemployment will get you about 50% of your average weekly wage or $740 each week, whichever is less.

Prepare for your job search

Next, get ready to search for your new job. You’re probably already familiar with the basics, like updating your resume, going to networking events and searching on sites like Linkedin and Indeed to see what positions are out there.

Woman in job search | First Alliance Credit UnionWhile you’re doing all that, though, don’t forget to touch base with your former coworkers and ask for references. You probably made some friends in your last job, and you’ll more than likely have a lot of people willing to go to bat for you. Don’t forget to do something nice for them if they agree, and especially if they write you a nice letter of recommendation.

You’ll also want to contact the human resources department at your previous job and do a reference check with them. Ask what they will say if another employer calls them with any questions. Usually employers will just confirm that you worked at the company and give the dates of your employment, but you might also want to see if they are willing to write you a letter that states you were laid off through no fault of your own.

Take Some Time for Yourself

Being laid off can be a lot to process. After you’ve gotten home and filed for unemployment, take some time for yourself.

You probably have a lot of negative emotions like hurt, anger and fear to deal with, so take at least a day for yourself before you throw yourself into your job search. Spend some time grieving, give yourself permission to feel mad or sad and take the time you need to emotionally deal with losing your job. Just don't let yourself get stuck in those feelings.

While you’re getting ready for your job search, remember to take some time for you. Work on your hobbies, exercise and spend some time with your friends and family.

Prepare for the Unexpected With First Alliance Credit Union

Losing your job is a traumatic experience. However, if you know the right steps to take, you can start getting back on your feet that much sooner. You can also use the resources First Alliance Credit Union offers to help you make the best financial choices for you and your family.

We offer a variety of services to members that are going through financial hardship. Our lending advisors can help you refinance your loans to get a lower monthly payment and consolidate your debts. First Alliance also offers financial guides, such as our beginner’s guide to budgeting that will help you allocate your money most effectively, and calculators that will help you with figuring out a budget to the length of time you’ll need to pay off your credit cards. 

Not a member yet? That's okay, reach out to our team and we will still help you get pointed in the right financial direction. 


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We do our best to provide helpful information but we cannot guarantee the accuracy or completeness of the information presented in the article, under no circumstance does the information provided constitute legal advice. You are responsible for independently verifying the information if you intend to use it in any way. Additionally, the content is not intended to be reflective of First Alliance Credit Union’s products or services, for accurate and complete details about our product and service information you must speak to an advisor at First Alliance Credit Union.