When you find out you have lost your job, fear sets in because you do not know how you are going to make ends meet, keep a roof over your head or feed your family. Don’t panic there are a few things you should do immediately after losing your job that will help you to maintain some security in your life. Even though you may still want to sit down and cry wait until a few things are in motion then have your breakdown.
If it is during the school year, depending on the age of your children let them know you will be signing them up for free lunches. Most schools are very careful to make sure the children receiving free lunch are not spotted out. Only the school and your family will know your children are receiving free lunch. Go to your child’s school and ask for the paperwork to sign your children up for free lunch. This only takes a few moments to fill out and will be submitted immediately. Most schools will get you an answer within a few days. In fact your children may begin receiving free lunch days before you get the approval letter in the mail. Depending on your family size this can save you ten dollars or more each week.
Apply for unemployment right away. The phone lines are probably swamped but you can also apply online. Once your application is in the system, you can make weekly claims. Although you may have to wait for the first check because of severance pay or other information that must be verified, keep filing those weekly claims since once approval is given, all the back pay will be sent to you. Signing up for direct deposit will also help to have your money arrive sooner. No checks to wait for or cash, each week the money will be deposited into your checking account.
Contact your local Human Services office to sign up for both food stamps and insurance for the family. Even if you have the option to make COBRA payments this may be a better option for your family. You will have to provide information concerning your family size and income. Most agencies claim there is a 30 day window for which you will receive notice if you are approved, however it seems that it is only a few days after all you provide all the paperwork that is needed to complete your application. Your monthly allotment will depend on your family size and income but it will help to feed your family.
After you have taken these quick steps you can have your meltdown. Everyone needs to let the emotions out after losing their job. Just remember that you are not alone and many people are feeling the same pinch that you are. Just continue to focus on your main goal and find whatever help you can to get you through this difficult time.