Get Help After Your Government Unemployment Runs Out

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What can you do if your unemployment benefits run out or are about to run out? First, check with your state unemployment office to make sure that you are receiving all the extended benefits you qualify for. If your eligibility is almost exhausted, look at the other resources that are available and take advantage of whatever you can to help you get by until you find your new job.

What to Do When Unemployment Runs Out

Don't be proud—your temporarily reduced circumstances may qualify you for food stamps or other government benefits. Remember, you paid for those benefits out of every paycheck you earned. Your state's Social Services department can inform you what assistance you qualify for. If you are a member of a church, ask if any help is available. Community organizations often have resources to help the unemployed with food baskets, donations, and babysitting assistance. If you can get assistance from family or friends, don't hesitate to ask.

  • Loans for Unemployed Workers: You may be able to borrow money even though you are not employed. Find information on the types of loans available for unemployed workers, how to qualify for a loan, and options for borrowing money when you are out of work.
  • Free Job Search Help: Identify and find free, or inexpensive, job search and career resources in your geographic areas.
  • Check With Your Local One-Stop Career Center: Your local One-Stop Career Center may have information on local resources such as community organizations that may be able to offer support with utility bills, food costs, etc. One-Stops might also have information on temporary positions, in addition to permanent or long-term job listings and possible assistance with upgrading skills and obtaining training to increase a job seeker's marketability.

Nonprofit and Social Services Agencies

  • 2-1-1 Call Center: Call to find local assistance with training, employment, food pantries, affordable housing, and support groups.
  • Directory of Homeless Shelters: Find a listing of homeless shelters throughout the United States from the National Coalition of the Homeless.
  • Free Phones: Free phone service is available to eligible low-income families through several different programs. Each program is funded by telecommunications companies to ensure that low-income families have access to affordable phone service.
  • Loans for Unemployed Workers: Find information on the types of loans available for unemployed workers, how to qualify for a loan, and options for borrowing money when you are out of work.
  • Help With Pets: If you are having difficulty caring for your pets, there is help available. Check with your local animal shelter and veterinarian to see if they can assist or refer you to sources for pet food and care.
  • Home Affordable Modification Program (AMP): This program, along with others, allows qualifying unemployed homeowners to reduce or suspend mortgage payments for 12 months or more so that they can focus on finding a job without the pressure of foreclosure.
  • Temporary Assistance for Needy Families: Each state has a Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program (formerly called welfare). TANF can help with food stamps, financial assistance, training, and job searching.
  • Food Stamps: The federal food stamp program, now called the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), helps low-income families and individuals buy food.
  • Medicaid: Medicaid provides medical benefits to low-income people who have no medical insurance or inadequate medical insurance.
  • WIC: WIC stands for Women, Infants, and Children. WIC is a supplemental nutrition program administered by the Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) division of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
  • State and Local Social Services Offices: It can be scary when you have lost your job and are about to lose your unemployment benefits, but there are still resources available for you to access when you need help.
  • Job Search Tips for Unemployed Job Seekers: It might be difficult to be upbeat, confident, and energetic during interviews but it's important for an unemployed job seeker to remain positive. 
  • Free Email Accounts: A prospective job seeker could create a professional e-mail separate from their personal e-mail in assistance with their job search.