You likely never expected to be unemployed. No one ever does. Even if you diligently saved an emergency fund, watching it slowly disappear as you face month after month of unemployment can be depressing and nerve wracking. What if the money runs out before you find a job?
Of course, besides your emergency fund, you are likely eligible for unemployment benefits, which will buy you more time. Still with nearly 40% of the unemployed facing unemployment for longer than 27 weeks (Bureau of Labor Statistics), you may need to take more drastic measures to keep the lights on, food on the table, and the mortgage payment paid.
Luckily, there are plenty of other ways you can seek assistance.
1. Share your plight on Facebook.
There are more and more people with financial needs, whether it be to help pay for a sick child’s care or raise money when facing long term unemployment, who start a Facebook page and share their story and ask for donations. This is surprisingly successful, especially if you are open enough to share your story, your picture, and why you’re in need.
2. Share your story on a crowd sharing platform.
One popular one is Go Fund Me. Recently Bill Mann shared his story–he was about to lose his home to foreclosure. Thanks to the Nashville, Tennessee floods a few years ago, Mann had to take out a loan to repair his home. Soon after, his two elderly parents required his constant care, so he has been unable to hold a full-time job and was on the brink of losing his home. In just a few short weeks, 119 donors donated over $8,000, which was enough to help Mann push back the foreclosure date and allow him to raise more money.
3. Seek support from your church.
If you belong to a church, you could always share your plight with the minister. Some churches have money set aside specifically to help parishioners in need. They may be able to give you some food as well as cash to help you get by.
4. Visit your local food pantry.
Many cities have food pantries. Before you completely run out of your emergency fund, consider visiting a food pantry. You can get enough food to get by for a few weeks.
5. Apply for SNAP.
SNAP, formerly the food stamp program, can assist you by giving you money to buy food. While the requirements to qualify for the program are fairly stringent, if you’ve been without employment for quite a few months, you will likely qualify.
6. Borrow from family members.
While you may not want to borrow from family members, this may be a last resort if you’re reaching your financial bottom. You could always sign an agreement with the person and write down how much you will pay back per month and when you’ll start the repayment process.
There is perhaps nothing scarier than being without work and a steady paycheck. When you go several months to a year without work, fending off depression can be difficult. However, using some, or all, of these steps can help you maintain a good attitude and feel more financially secure, even in the face of long-term unemployment.
What other tactics would you add if someone is facing long-term unemployment?