Where To Get Help When Unemployment Runs Out

Where To Get Help When Unemployment Runs Out

What can you do if you’ve run out of unemployment benefits or are about to lose them? It can be scary when you don’t have any income, but you may be eligible for financial assistance to help you through this difficult time.

Before you panic, check with your state unemployment office to ensure you receive all the benefits you’re entitled to. The duration of unemployment benefits varies by state and ranges from a maximum of 12 weeks (Florida) to 26 weeks. Here’s a chart of weeks of unemployment listed by state from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

You’ve probably already tried many of the financial strategies you can use when you’re out of work, but if you haven’t, it’s worth speaking to your creditors to see if they can waive payments and fees. Talk to your mortgage holder or landlord, cell phone provider, internet and utility providers, credit card companies, car loan company, and other creditors. Some may offer grace periods or payment or finance plans to enable you to continue business as usual, at least for a while. A personal loan may be an option as well.

It’s also important to tap federal, state, local, and community resources available to help unemployed workers. Here are some options for assistance:

Contact Your Local CareerOneStop Center

One of the best ways to find assistance is to use the U.S. Department of Labor’s CareerOneStop website. In addition to a wealth of job search and career resources, you can get help at an American Job Center (AJC). Search by zip code to find local assistance. American Job Centers have information on local support resources, such as funding for utility bills, food costs, childcare, emergency funds, and other necessary expenses. Career OneStop also has a directory of job listings and offers job and skill training assistance.

Check Federal and State Assistance Programs

The following federal and state programs are available for low-income workers:


Check With Nonprofit Agencies

Nonprofit and community agencies can help you locate food, housing, clothing, and emergency resources.  Here’s how to connect with nonprofit organizations near you:

  • 2-1-1 Call Center. Call 211 to get local help with training, employment, food, housing, and support groups.
  • Findhelp.org. Search Findhelp by zip code to find financial assistance, food pantries, housing assistance, supplies, and more free and reduced-cost help.
  • Food Banks. If you need food assistance, here’s a directory of food banks from Feed America. Also search Google for “food pantry” or “food bank” to get a list of providers near you.
  • Homeless Shelters. Here’s a list of homeless shelters throughout the United States from the National Coalition for the Homeless. If you’re about to be homeless, here’s a list of what you should do
  • Phone Service. Reduced-cost phone service is through the Lifeline program for qualifying low-income people.
  • Churches and Community Organizations. Check with local churches and community organizations. Many offer a variety of resources for those in need, including food, clothes, household supplies, and other necessities.
  • Pets. Contact your local animal shelter and veterinarian to see whether they can help you or refer you to resources for pet food and care.


Check on Free Services

It can be really hard to focus on job searching when you’re unemployed and stressed about losing your home, your vehicle, your phone, and the rest of your life as it used to be. But there are no-cost and low-cost ways to keep moving forward.

Use the Library

One of the best free resources you can use is your local public library. You’ll be able to access free Wi-Fi, computers, printers, workshops, and training classes.

Some libraries lend Chromebooks and internet hot spots, and you may be able to get free access to LinkedIn Learning to upgrade your skills. 

Here’s an overview of what’s available at the library and how you can tap the resources.

Use Google

You can use free Google tools for every component of your job search: write resumes and cover letters, save documents and files, send professional email messages, find job listings, apply for jobs, track your applications, and get ready to interview. 

If you don’t have access to a computer, you can use Google Drive to store your job search materials and access via the library’s or a family member’s or friend’s computer.

Get Free Rides

If you don’t have access to transportation, Lyft’s free rides program offers transportation to job interviews, training, or work. 

Tip: If you’re a college graduate, check with your career services and alumni office to see what services they provide. Many offer free career counseling and job search assistance to alumni.

Supplement Your Earnings

If you need to make money fast, there are apps you can use to find gigs where you can apply, get hired, and get paid quickly. Here free apps you can use to find shopping, delivery, driving, caregiving, building, repairing, and professional gigs. 

Don’t Be Afraid To Ask for Help

It’s always embarrassing to ask for help, but your family, friends, and others won’t know you need assistance unless you ask. Whether it’s asking for a loan, groceries, childcare while you interview, a ride or gas money, or anything else you need, it’s always worth making the request.

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  • April 27, 2023