Kicked out by Corona, Now What?

June 4, 2020

Suzanne Tencellent, Human Resources Manage

If COVID-19 has thrown you out of the market place, it is important to understand your next steps

The Coronavirus has taken an enormous toll over the last few months, the pandemic has radically impacted people’s lives and careers.  The US unemployment rate sky-rocked to 14.7% in April, the worst since the great depression.  As consultant’s and employees suddenly find themselves out of work, it is important to understand what benefits are available during the length of your unemployment and how to go about laying the ground work for your approach back into the marketplace.

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As the US employment rate rapidly declined due to the Coronavirus, the federal government implemented revisions to old Unemployment insurance (UI) standards.  In addition to the standard allowable reasons for collecting unemployment, the Coronavirus Aid Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act has provided states with flexibility in providing benefits. The CARES Act expanded unemployment insurance benefits making them available to millions of Americans who are out of work for reasons related to the pandemic.  Those that are not eligible for regular state benefits may be eligible for federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance under the Cares Act available through December 31. An important component of the CARES Act is the significant expansion of unemployment benefits. The legislation increases the amount of UI insurance, the amount of time you can receive it, and it expands eligibility requirements.  If you were laid off from your job and are worried about having enough money to pay your monthly expenses, unemployment is one option potentially available to you.  Unemployment varies by state, most states have the option to file on-line, over the phone or by mailing in a claim form.  You should file your unemployment claim in the state where you last worked.  Your local unemployment office can assist you when filing.  When you are ready to file you will need your Social Security number, your driver’s license, your complete mailing address and your employer’s information.

For more information unemployment benefits and state filing information:

Workers facing a Coronavirus-related loss of health insurance should assess alternatives quickly. Health Care coverage is another concern for those who find themselves unemployed. When you lose employer-based health care, you generally have three main choices for Health Care coverage.  

Employees should also check Medicaid eligibility, even if you don’t think you qualify. Medicaid offers free or low-cost care for persons in a specific demographic. Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act has increased eligibility requirements in many states. Check your eligibility at  Whatever option you decide, it is important to remember, time is of the essence when looking for coverage after losing your health plan.  Your former HR Manager should be able to assist you with COBRA and an independent insurance agent could be a great resource to help you plan for your budget and needs. When looking into your decision, have all of your details ready.  You should have: total household income, Social Security number, pay stubs, tax records, information about your current (or just ended) health plan and dependents.

Once you secure your benefits, you may begin wondering “how do I even search for a new job during this uncertain and chaotic time?”  It is important to remember that, although we don’t have control over this uncertain job market, we should put our best foot forward in order to conduct a solid search. Following these tips can help you take your next steps professionally:

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No matter if you have just entered the ranks of the unemployed and are adjusting to the shock, or if you have been unemployed for a couple of months and are ready to search for a new job, navigating your way through these times is going to take patience.  Approach your situation realistically, set a timeline for your tasks.  Focus your energy on the task at hand and remember, you are not alone!


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