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Wednesday, July 15, 2020
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Five Steps to Help Cope with Employment Issues
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By now, you’ve seen the grim news about the job picture. In April, we hit an unemployment rate of 14.7% – the worst rate since the Great Depression. And the U.S. economy lost 20.5 million jobs – the largest monthly decline ever. Furthermore, many workers who kept their jobs saw their hours reduced or took salary cuts. If your employment has been negatively affected by the coronavirus pandemic, how should you respond?

Here’s a five-step plan to consider:

Step 1: File for work-related benefits. If you have lost your job, been furloughed or are unable to work because of quarantine, you should file for unemployment benefits. Your state’s unemployment website will have application information, but be prepared for delays. If you’re still working, but your hours have been reduced, you could receive a portion of your unemployment benefits as short-time compensation. Contact your company’s human resources representative to determine if you are eligible.

Step 2: Review your budget – and look for areas to cut. Compare the costs of your essential needs – housing, utilities, food, health care, transportation, etc. – with your sources of income, including unemployment benefits. This will give you a good basic picture of how you’re doing. Then, consider cutting back on non-essential items, such as multiple streaming services, and try to find other ways to save money, perhaps by looking for lower-cost or generic brands of the household or self-care items you regularly use.

Step 3: Explore assistance programs. In response to the current economic situation, federal agencies and private financial institutions are offering assistance programs. For example, payments on federally held student loans will be suspended through September 30, 2020. And some banks are offering to help individuals with credit card debt and consumer loans. (However, even if you can delay payments, you’ll still owe the money and you may also be assessed fees.) You might even get some help for your mortgage. As part of the recent stimulus legislation (the CARES Act), you can request a forbearance (suspension or reduction of payments) for up to 180 days, with the right to request an additional extension for up to another 180 days if you have a federally backed mortgage (FHA, VA, USDA, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac). You’ll have to contact your mortgage service provider to request this forbearance.

Would you like to read the rest of this story? You can subscribe to the Greenhorn Valley View for only $37.50/yr. anywhere in Pueblo County. Call (719) 676-3401 and sign up today.

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The Greenhorn Valley View is a weekly newspaper serving the communities of the Greenhorn Valley in Southern Colorado,
including Colorado City, Rye, San Isabel, Beulah and Hatchet Ranch.

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