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3 Resources for Recently Furloughed or Laid Off Employees

If you were recently laid off or furloughed from your job, you are far from alone. The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted jobs in all sectors and industries, worldwide, over the first half of 2020.

As of May 28, 2020, Business Insider reported that 47 million Americans filed for unemployment insurance, which exceeds the numbers recorded during The Great Depression. If you are among those who lost their job because of the coronavirus—or for any other reason—you may need some ideas to help you stay upbeat and take positive steps to take care of yourself during a difficult time.

Here are three resources if you have recently lost your job.

1. Differences Between a Furlough and a Layoff

The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) offers a wealth of resources for employers and employees, often bridging key communication barriers. The website offers insights into the differences between layoffs and furloughs in an organization. This information helps the employee know how to proceed when considering factors such as applying for unemployment benefits and searching for a new job.

Here are the basic differences between the two concepts:

  • Furloughs: A furlough is a mandatory leave of absence from the organization. This means that the employer ultimately expects the employee to return to work once productivity returns to normal. Employers often resort to this type of temporary employee leave when they do not have enough funds for payroll, which has been a common theme throughout the COVID-19 crisis. Depending on the time on furlough, employees may apply for and receive unemployment insurance benefits.
  • Layoffs: When employers do not foresee enough consistent work for employees, they lay them off. This separation places no blame on the employee since the employer does not have the work to keep the employee busy enough to justify keeping them on the payroll. Many employers think of this type of separation as temporary, but it often becomes permanent. Most employees in layoffs are eligible to collect unemployment benefits.

2. Filing for Unemployment Insurance Benefits

One of the first things that may cross your mind once laid off or furloughed is how you will pay your rent and other bills. Fortunately, you have paid into unemployment insurance, and it is your time to apply to collect. The Department of Labor (DOL) website offers all the latest steps to quickly and easily file your unemployment claim. You can file your claim online, via telephone or in-person as soon as possible after becoming employed. Make sure to file your claim in the state where you worked. Provide complete and accurate information, so you will not experience any delay in payment, which should take two-to-three weeks after you file your claim.

3. Learn How to Apply for Medicare

Even if you’re not planning to retire after being furloughed or laid off, you can still apply for Medicare if you are 65 and qualify. Medicare can replace the insurance you had, or enhance the insurance you already have or get when you’re re-employed. Here are a few things you will need to sign up for Original Medicare, which includes hospital and outpatient care:

  • Social Security card
  • Original birth certificate
  • Proof of U.S. citizenship
  • Copy of your current or most recent W-2

Navigate Uncertain Times

Experiencing a layoff or furlough can rock your world under the best of circumstances, but factor in COVID-19, and everyone feels more uncertain. With the right resources, you can take time to breathe and map out your long-term strategy.

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