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 and you still don't have a job? First, check with your state unemployment office to make sure that you are receiving all the 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. If running out of money is going to hurt you or your family's basic needs, you may qualify for food stamps or other government assistance. Remember, you paid for those benefits through your taxes out of every paycheck you earned. Your state's Social Services department can inform you of what assistance you qualify for.

Other options include:

  • Check with your church and local community organizations for support: 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, job help, and babysitting assistance.
  • Seek help from your network: If you can get support from family or friends, don't hesitate to ask.
  • Consider 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.
  • Obtain free job search help: Identify and find free, or inexpensive, job search and career resources in your geographic areas.
  • Check with your local Career One-Stop Center: Sponsored by the U.S. Department of Labor, Career One-Stop Centers may have information on local resources such as community organizations that may be able to offer support with utility bills, food costs, and other necessary expenses. Career 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.
  • 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 Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC). 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, which administers the supplemental nutrition program from the Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) division of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Check with your local health department, clinic, or other authorized agency for WIC information.
  • 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 job interviews when you're in a desperate financial situation, 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.