Category Cleaning And Maintenance

Is Unemployment Taxable? (Guide to Taxes on Unemployment Benefits)

Lots of Americans use unemployment benefits insurance to pay their bills while they’re looking for a new job. Many people consider it free money that can help you get by in dire times. But is unemployment taxable? Unfortunately it is, and for that reason, it’s best not to consider it “free money.”

Your unemployment benefits are taxed like income, and you’ll have to pay those taxes on unemployment during tax season when you file your return.

Sometimes, the Federal government accidentally overpays a huge amount of money in unemployment benefits. If you were overpaid unemployment, you might have to repay it come tax season.

When it comes to collecting unemployment overpayments, the Federal Government only recovers about a quarter of its losses. In fact, there’s even a procedure in place for those who have received overpayments but aren’t able to pay the money back; they might be able to waive the repayment amount and subsequent fees. The only criterion is that the recipient must prove that they did not set out to purposely deceive the Federal Government.

Unemployment Eligibility Requirements

The U.S. Department of Labor Unemployment Insurance Program provides benefit payments to newly unemployed workers who lost their job “through no fault of their own.” If you’re an employee of the Federal Government, you may be eligible for unemployment during a Federal shutdown.

States are generally allowed to interpret that condition in their own way. But, for all intents and purposes, workers who are fired are usually not eligible for unemployment benefits. You’ll be eligible for unemployment benefits if you were laid off from your job due to budget cuts or downsizing.

If you lived in one state and worked in another, the laws of your employer’s state will apply, and not the laws of your state of residence.

It’s important to understand that unemployment benefits are not supposed to be your primary income. It’s only a temporary source of income that’s meant to help you cover some living costs while you search for another job. The amount of benefits that you receive is not dependent on your financial needs or lifestyle; a government formula will determine how much you receive.

If you’re going to collect unemployment benefits, you must be ready, willing, and able to work, and you must make a genuine effort to find new employment. There is usually a minimum number of jobs that you’re required to apply or interview for, so if you’re going to claim unemployment, it’s best to spruce up your resume and start scrolling through job sites.

You should keep detailed records of your job search efforts, whether they’re by phone, email, mail, online, or in-person. Your state’s unemployment authorities might demand to see your records at any time for proof that you’re making an actual effort to find work. Many states require that you report your job search activities weekly.

Whenever you’re in a financial bind, it’s helpful to reign in your spending as best you can and determine what your most minimal living costs can be. Use a budgeting app to help keep you from running through your unemployment funds faster than you can get a new job.

Types of Unemployment Tax Breaks

In the past, you could deduct a number of expenses related to your job search, like transportation, relocation costs, and seminar fees. Unfortunately, these deductibles were eliminated by the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. But there are still certain ways you can find financial relief during unemployment.

EITC Eligibility

The Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) is a tax break for workers who don’t have a very large income. If you’ve earned income during the year (not including your unemployment benefits), you might be able to use that amount to make a credit claim. Single taxpayers can claim EITC, but workers with dependent children benefit from it the most.

Starting a Business

There are lots of people who, when unemployed, decide that they’re going to go into business for themselves. The IRS has three categories of tax deductions for startup businesses:

  • Creating a business/investigating creation of business: Deductible costs might include surveying markets, analyzing cost of products, exploring potential business locations, and other early costs.
  • Preparing the business to open: Deductible costs might include employee training, travel expenses, advertising expenses, and consultant fees. Equipment cost is not deductible, but you may be able to claim future tax deductions on depreciation.
  • Organizational costs: Deductible costs might include legal fees, state organizational fees, and initial salaries. You might need to have your business legally established within the end of the first fiscal year to claim these deductions.

Cash-Out Retirement Plan Early

If your unemployment has left you in a dire financial situation, you could consider cashing out your retirement plan and using it as emergency funds. Typically, there’s a 10% early withdrawal fee, but the IRS allows taxpayers to cash out their retirement plan tax-free if it’s a “hardship withdrawal.”

Of course, you shouldn’t tap into your retirement savings without careful consideration. You should only do so if there’s no other sort of financial relief you can get, and if you’re facing homelessness or illness due to inability to pay medical expenses. If you do decide to cash your retirement funds, then you should come up with an aggressive financial plan to replenish your retirement fund once you’re employed again.

How Unemployment Overpayments Happen

The most common reason for overpayment is attributed to clerical errors that qualify an applicant for regular payment when that person would normally not have qualified for unemployment benefits. That includes people who quit their jobs, were fired for negligence, who aren’t actively looking for work, or who have found another job.

The overpayment amounts are significant, especially when viewed through the lens of strained state budgets: Colorado once overpaid by $128 million in a single year, while Indiana paid out more incorrect benefits than correct ones.

Withholding Tax Now vs. Paying It Later

Overpayments aren’t the only concern for the unemployed. Even though taxes aren’t taken out of your unemployment check, you’re still expected to pay taxes on the benefits you collect, which is taxed as regular income.

Additionally, any supplemental benefits coming from company-funded programs are not taxed as income, but as “wages.” That means that you’re going to get a W-2 for them at the end of the year, and the IRS will tax you then.

In some states, you have the option to collect taxes that are withheld at the time the unemployment check is issued. Generally, 10 percent is withheld from the check. This withholding is optional, and recipients can elect to collect the entire amount and pay taxes on it at the end of the year instead.

Collecting a larger check is tempting, but it’s wise to have the taxes withheld from your unemployment check. Taking a hit now is better than owing the IRS at the end of the year. If you end up with a tax refund at the end of the year instead of owing, that money can go toward any bills you incurred as a result of being unemployed.

If you still decide to not have tax withheld from your unemployment benefits, make sure to set aside a portion of each check (say 10 percent) in a high-yield, interest-bearing account.

Reporting Unemployment on 1099-G

When you receive unemployment compensation, you will get issued a 1099-G at the end of the year. This is how the IRS keeps track of any income received from governmental sources. You are required to report this as income, and failing to do so might be one of the biggest tax mistakes you can make.

If you fail to report your unemployment benefits as income, it’s unlikely you’re going to end up federal prison for tax evasion. But the fees and penalties associated with lying on your taxes are significant. And if you get audited (even if all your other finances are clean) the process will be time-consuming and potentially expensive. When it comes to paying taxes, honesty is always the best policy.

Reporting unemployment income on your taxes is easy. There are lines on your tax forms that are specifically for any 1099-G income.


Why did I receive a Form 1099-G?

You received Form 1099-G because you received unemployment benefits during the year. You’ll report the funds that you received on Form 1099-G.

How do I report this unemployment information on my income taxes?

If you received unemployment benefits, you’ll receive Form 1099-G in the mail. Report your unemployment on this form.

I never received Form 1099-G?

If you never received Form 1099-G, but you did receive unemployment benefits for the tax year, you’re still obligated to report your benefits on Form 1099-G when you file your taxes. Failure to do so may result in heavy tax penalties and fees. Order the form on the IRS website, fill it out, and include it with your tax return. 

Can I get my Form 1099-G information online?

Form 1099-G is not available online. You can mail-order the form here.

May I send an inquiry regarding my Form 1099-G by fax or mail?

Yes! You may send an inquiry via mail or fax. However, your information can’t be faxed back to you due to confidentiality concerns, so it’ll be returned to you via mail.

Why is my overpayment, which I repaid, not reported on my Form 1099-G?

The IRS handles overpayments separately from your tax return. If you were subject to non-fraud overpayment (in other words, if the overpayment wasn’t your fault), then you would receive a notice from the IRS telling you whether or not you must repay the overpayment. If you already repaid your overpayment, and you receive an IRS notice demanding repayment, you should contact your local IRS office.

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5 Ways to Look for a New Job

This post can be found en Español here.

The current coronavirus pandemic has caused a large upheaval across many different areas. In addition to the changes COVID-19 has made in the areas of health and safety (masks, social distancing and quarantines), it has also caused major changes to the economy across all walks to life. The United States has experienced record levels of unemployment, and even many of those who are still employed have experienced disruptions to their unemployment. 

If you are recently unemployed or are looking for new work due to changes in your work situation (being furloughed, having hours reduced or changes in the type or location of your work), there are several different ways that you can look for a new job. In this article, we’ll look through some of the best ways to look for a new job.

Networking with friends, family and former colleagues

There’s a reason the saying “it’s not what you know, it’s who you know” is so popular – it’s quite true. As it has in most industries, the Internet has disrupted the way that recruiters and HR departments source their open job positions. Since most job applications are available at no cost and with the click of a button, the volume of resumes received for each open position is staggering. You truly have to make sure that your resume stands out.

One way to do this is to have a referral from a friend, family member or former colleague. Talk to your circle of influence and see what jobs are available where they work. A referral from someone who already works where you’re looking to hire on is a great first step. In many cases, a referral from an existing employee can help to short-circuit the HR department and get you directly in front of the hiring manager.

Make sure that your Linkedin profile is up-to-date

Going along with the power of networking and referrals is making sure that your Linkedin profile is accurate and current. Linkedin can be more useful in certain professions and in certain areas, so you’ll have to take a look to see how it might work for you. Generally, you’ll find more people and companies active on Linkedin in more white-collar trades. 

Linkedin also has a setting where you can state that you are actively looking for jobs. That setting will bring your Linkedin profile to the attention of recruiters who are looking to hire in your industry. This can be both positive and negative. Most recruiters also cast a wide net, so you may find it to be distracting having to answer calls and emails from recruiters who are hiring for jobs that may be not quite what you’re looking for.

Don’t forget about a solid resume

A traditional (paper) resume is less important than it was 10-20 years ago but still is useful to keep current. Depending on where you’re looking and in what industry, you might find a resume more or less important. The big reason resumes are not nearly as important anymore is that most job applications online are done electronically. So you may fill out an online form rather than uploading a Word document or PDF. Even if you do upload your resume online, it’s likely that it is getting parsed and converted into a different format, so all the time you spent carefully formatting your resume doesn’t tend to matter.

Another great resume tip is to make sure and target your resume and cover letter to the individual company and position you’re applying for. Each job is different, and showing that you took the time to emphasize skills and experience that was directly solicited in the job posting will only help.

Scour the big job boards

All of the traditional job “boards” have also moved online, with big job sites like Indeed, Monster, CareerBuilder and Linkedin posting millions of jobs per month. With so many jobs posted, it can be challenging to wade through all of them and find ones that make sense for what you’re looking for. Some good advice is to make sure to narrow down your search as much as possible. 

You may be tempted to cast a wide net in the hopes of finding something, but unless you have a ton of time, you may find it more beneficial to focus more narrowly. Most job sites will also let you set up ongoing searches that will immediately alert you if a new job is posted that matches your criteria.

Explore the gig economy

Depending on your household’s financial situation, you may also be looking to pick up some extra income while you’re looking for a new job. Joining the gig economy may make sense as a short-term option while you’re looking for a more stable job. Companies like Uber, Lyft, Doordash or Instacart are generally always hiring people to work through their platforms and offer flexibility that could make it an easier fit on your schedule. 

Most of these companies also offer signup bonuses from $200-$500 to incentivize new people to join with them. Taking advantage of these gigs might be a good way to stabilize your budget while looking for that perfect job.

What to do if they say no

Even in high-demand professions, you’re likely to encounter a pretty significant level of rejection. If you’re not getting rejected a lot, you’re probably not applying to enough places! Unfortunately, many companies or HR departments do not typically let you know if you are rejected. If you don’t get the job, one strategy can be to ask when would a good time to follow up. Their answer to the question can help give you an idea for possible next steps with that company. 

Again, this is where the power of having a friend or former colleague on the inside – most HR departments are historically tight-lipped because they’re afraid of getting sued. But if you have a connection on the inside, you may be able to get more and better information to help guide your path going forward.

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Does Unemployment Affect My Credit Score?

This content is for the first stimulus relief package, The Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act (The CARES Act), which was signed into law in March 2020. For information on the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2021, the stimulus relief package currently pending legislation, please visit the “New Coronavirus Relief Package: What Does it Mean for You and a Second Stimulus Check” blog post.

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the economy in many different ways. One of the biggest changes has been changes to employment for many people. In some cases, many have been laid off. In other cases, people have been furloughed or had their hours reduced. The number of people receiving unemployment compensation has also hit record numbers. In this article, we’ll take a look at how filing for unemployment and/or receiving unemployment compensation can affect your credit score.

How does unemployment compensation affect your credit score?

The process for filing for unemployment is different in each state. Generally, you will need to file paperwork with your state’s unemployment office, either in person or online. The amount of unemployment compensation you receive generally depends on the salary you earned at your most recent job.

The CARES Act of 2020 made several changes to the unemployment process. First of all, it waived the requirement that several states had in place where one must be actively looking for work to receive unemployment compensation. It also broadened the definition of who was eligible for unemployment and gave an extra $600/week to most people receiving unemployment compensation.

The good news is that filing for unemployment or receiving unemployment compensation does NOT appear on your credit report. Generally, credit reports will not update your employment information unless you apply for new credit. And remember, only information about your financial accounts affects your credit score.

Is filing for unemployment bad for your credit?

As we discussed, the mere act of filing for unemployment or receiving unemployment compensation is not bad for your credit. Being on unemployment does not affect your credit score and in most cases will not even appear on your credit report at all.

Where being unemployed can hurt your credit is all of the ancillary effects from being without a job. Generally speaking, unemployment compensation is less than the salary that you were receiving (though the extra $600 from the CARES Act has changed that for some people.) With less income, that will obviously have a big impact on your overall household budget

What can damage your credit while you’re unemployed? 

Even though the act of filing for unemployment or receiving unemployment compensation does not affect your credit score, your credit can still be damaged while you’re unemployed. Two of the factors that make up your credit score are your total balances and your credit utilization ratio. Both of these can be affected if your finances are impacted due to a loss of income.

If you find yourself to continue living below your means while your income is reduced, it is likely that you may end up with higher balances on your credit cards. This results in the increase of your credit utilization ratio, leaving a negative impact on your credit score. 

How to protect your credit when on unemployment

There are a few steps you can take to help protect your credit while unemployed. The key here is to minimize the effects that being without your regular salary has on the rest of your finances. 

One good way to protect your credit while on unemployment is to make sure to have a solid emergency fund. Ideally, you should aim to have 3 to 6 months of expenses in an emergency fund. But if you haven’t been able to create one yet, it’s no help saying that you should have! If your emergency fund or savings won’t cover your time without employment, you have a few options.

  1. Cut down on your expenses
  2. Ask a favor from close friends or family 
  3. Accept that your credit score will be impacted

The good news is that if your time with a limited income is short, your credit score should bounce back in no time as well! 

Does unemployment affect your ability to get new credit/loans?

Yes, it will have a significant impact on your ability to get new credit cards or other loans. Most places that offer credit ask for your current employment status. This makes sense since they need to assess your ability to repay the loan or credit that they are offering.

Different banks and creditors will have different policies for evaluating the information that you provide to them. In many cases, the bank will ask for proof of employment, such as your paystubs. This is especially true when trying to qualify for a home mortgage. If you’re not able to provide current pay stubs, this can have an impact on your ability to get a home loan, even if you’ve already been pre-qualified or approved. 

Hopefully, this information was helpful if you are in a situation where you are wondering how unemployment affects your credit score.

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The Financial Rebound: Money After COVID

The events of 2020 have exacerbated just how unequal our society is when it comes to racial and economic equality, with communities of color still facing numerous obstacles on their path to financial security.

For Black Americans, long-standing racial inequities have made the financial impact of COVID-19 even more extreme. According to the Pew Research Center, in May, 44% of Black Americans reported that they or someone in their household experienced a job or wage loss due to COVID-19, compared to 38% of white Americans.

And it’s not just about unemployment. According to the National Bureau of Economic Research, patterns across gender, race, and immigration status reveal that Black business owners have experienced the largest losses during COVID-19, eliminating 41% of Black-owned businesses.

We recognize that we can’t fix the systemic racism that’s rooted so deeply in our financial institutions, but we sincerely believe that the right technology and partnerships can help us build products and resources that will alleviate some of these struggles.

Steady is a platform that helps people find high demand jobs, increase their income, and plan for more financially stable futures. We have partnered with Steady to help Mint users who have lost their jobs due to COVID-19, find resources, and new work streams. So far, over +20% of customers that click into Mint’s financial resources choose to go to Steady for help finding more sources of income. Together, we’ve helped 1700+ users apply for jobs.

Most recently, we sat down for a frank discussion with Steady Founder, Adam Roseman, Steady Investor, Shaquille O’Neal, and CNBC Make It’s Courtney Connely, on the responsibility financial technology companies play in helping close the racial wealth gap. Our hope is that the discussion is enlightening, but also provides you with important tools and resources to help you achieve your financial goals.

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Cleaning And Maintenance Unemployment

Navigating the Current Job Market and Empowering Workers

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We’re four months into our new pandemic-altered reality, and while businesses straddle the line between reopening and shuttering (again), many Americans are finding their jobs no longer exist. Last week, 1.3 million Americans applied for unemployment insurance for the first time. Self-employed, independent contractors and gig economy workers — a vital and burgeoning contingent of today’s workforce — remain especially hard hit. 

Is there a light at the end of the tunnel? It depends on who you ask and how you approach it.

Nearly 13 million Americans are receiving unemployment benefits via the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program, which aims to help gig economy workers and those not traditionally eligible for unemployment benefits. PUA recipients make up 41% of the 31.5 million total unemployment benefit recipients nationwide as of June 13, according to recent Labor Department statistics

Even with these guardrails in place, not everyone is benefitting.

The racial inequality workforce problem

For Black Americans, long-standing racial inequities have made the financial impact of COVID-19 even more extreme. According to the Pew Research Center, 44% of Black Americans reported that they or someone in their household experienced a job or wage loss due to COVID-19, compared to 38% of white Americans. More than two-thirds of Black adults (73%) said they did not have emergency funds to cover three months of expenses, while just 47% of white adults said the same.

What’s more, an analysis of Labor Department data by the University of California, Santa Cruz found that more than 2 out of 5 Black small businesses and self-employed workers have been forced to shutter during the pandemic — well over twice the rate of white businesses. 

At Steady, we’ve created a platform that helps people find high demand jobs, increase their income and plan for more financially stable futures. We recently opened up an emergency cash grant program as a result of the pandemic, and so far, 46.5% of our applicants have been Black. 

Navigating the new job market and how we’re helping workers

It’s devastating to see American workers hurting and to so clearly witness how racial inequities are compounding that hurt. Steady recognizes how challenging life is right now and we want to serve as an immediate resource for those who need work and/or additional income.

Mint has long supported people in managing and optimizing their finances, so with all of the hardship brought on by COVID-19, it made sense to join forces with Steady to encourage personal financial empowerment for all Americans. On average, Steady members earn more than $4,000 per year in additional income and in response to COVID-19, we’re offering emergency cash grants, telemedicine support and rapid ACH cash deposits.

What will the future hold?

Pre-pandemic, we lived in a world where there were more jobs than job seekers, or at least a healthy 1:1 ratio. Now workers are struggling in a world where there’s maybe 1 job for every 4 job seekers.

Together with Mint, Steady is here to help everyone navigate these difficult times. We’re committed to empowering workers and helping people find jobs that are still in-demand and right for them. To get started and see available work in your area, download the free Steady app, here

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Cleaning And Maintenance Unemployment

6 Ways to Find Extra Income (video)

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Living within your means is an important component of having strong and healthy finances. Creating a budget can be a great first step to making sure your financial house is in order. As you look through your monthly expenses, there are two different ways that you can improve your monthly cash flow. 

The first is to cut your expenses – look for ways that you can spend less each month. When you first start tracking your expenses (like with one of our free monthly budget templates), you’ll likely find a few areas to cut back on. Over time, however, you’ll probably run out of ways to cut your expenses. After all, there are so many extra lattes and gym memberships that you don’t use! 

The other way you can increase your savings rate is to find extra income. In this article, we’ll look through a few side hustles and other ways to find extra income.

Sell things you aren’t using and don’t need

Most people always have things lying around the house that they no longer use. Take a look around with a discerning eye and decide which things you could do without. Of course, this is not something that you can do every day, but at the rate that most people gather things, you can probably find $100 or more in items once or twice per year. Look for electronics, clothes, toys or other things and sell on Craigslist, local barter groups or on eBay.

Capitalize on your talent

The first item we’ll talk about is dependent on YOU. What makes you special? What kind of skills do you have that might be able to bring in extra income? Many of the other things on this list are more short-term or one-time ideas. Maybe you can start a blog or online business? Or do you have a skill that you could provide to others as a service? It may take some short-term capital to get your business up and running, but the long-term gains from investing in yourself are usually worth it.

Make sure your savings dollars are working for you

Another way that you can find some additional money each month is by making sure that your savings dollars are invested in the right place. If you have extra money already stored up, you’ll want to make sure it isn’t sitting under your mattress or in a checking account earning next to no interest. For money that you don’t expect to need any time soon, consider opening a retirement account. Historically and with a long-term perspective, the stock market has been one of the best avenues for investments. 

If you have an emergency fund or other money, you won’t want to put it in the stock market. Because the stock market can be more volatile, any money that you want to have easier access to should be kept in something that is more liquid. But if you still have your money in a savings account at your local bank, you might be leaving tens to hundreds of dollars on the table each month. Many online savings accounts generally offer savings rates 10 to 20 times as much as the rates you’ll get from your local bank.

Open a new bank account

Speaking of bank accounts, many banks have incentives for opening a new account. And they’re often better gifts than the stereotypical toaster. A typical bank bonus might be between $200 and $500, depending on the requirements involved. You can find these bonuses by either searching online or looking at local and national banks to see what they might be offering.

Three things to keep in mind with bank account bonuses. The first is that many of these bank bonuses have requirements like setting up a direct deposit or keeping your money in for a certain period of time. Another is that many of these accounts have fees, which would offset some of the bonuses. Finally, the bonus you earn from this account is taxable; you’ll get a 1099 tax form at the end of the year. Weigh all these factors to decide if the bonus is worth it to you.

Maximize your credit card rewards

Another way to get some extra income is to make sure that you are maximizing your credit card rewards. Credit card rewards can be a good source of extra income depending on your spending levels. In addition to the cashback or rewards you get from ongoing spending, look at signing up for a new credit card. Many cards offer signup bonuses anywhere from $150 to $500 or more. This can be a great source of additional income.

Join the gig economy

Depending on how much free time you have, there are many companies out there that are looking for workers. Some ideas would be:

Many of these companies also offer new hire incentives that might make the gig seem more attractive at first.

Hopefully, these ideas to get extra income will help spark you as you look for ways to earn more money, balance your budget and get yourself set on the road to financial success!

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Budgeting Cleaning And Maintenance Money Management Unemployment

How to Reassess Your Finances After Unexpected Job Loss

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Going through life you can always expect the unexpected. It’s common for life to take an immediate and unexpected turn. It could be birth, death, a move, a marriage or a change in income. In all of these cases, it’s important to evaluate your household finances and decide how to best move forward. In the case of an unexpected job loss, here are 5 ways to reassess your finances to put you on your best path forward.

Start (or update) your budget

Hopefully, you already have a budget, but if not, now is the perfect time to create a budget. The word budget has a negative connotation with many people, but it doesn’t have to. A budget is just a tool, and like all tools, can be wielded for good or for bad. Start by tracking your monthly expenses, and compare that to the amount of income that you have coming in. That income could be from any severance you received, unemployment benefits or part-time work. It’s pretty simple to set up a budget in the Mint app and look at where your money is actually going.

Cut unnecessary expenses (be brutal)

The 50/30/20 rule is a popular budgeting rule that says that 50% of your income should go to essentials (needs), 30% to wants, and 20% to savings. The closer you have been getting to following that rule, the fewer changes that you’ll need to make to your budget after an unexpected job loss. If you are in a 2-income household where one member of the household just lost his job, you may find that you can squeeze things to live on only 50% of the income.

Now is the time to look through your recurring expenses and see how you might be able to simplify your finances. Be brutal – depending on how much money you have coming in, you may need to get rid of most or all of your non-essential spending until you have a new job and new income.

Stop saving and tap your emergency fund

Saving for a rainy day is important and having an emergency fund is one of the key principles of being on sound financial footing. Well, guess what – an unexpected job loss IS the rainy day you’ve been saving for! One of the first steps in reassessing your finances after an unexpected job loss is to stop any non-essential emergency or retirement contributions. You can always pick those back up once you’re back on your feet.

You can also stop contributing to your emergency fund. Now is the time to pull FROM the emergency fund if needed. It’s normal in a situation where you have a sudden loss of income to no longer be living below your means. The best thing that you can do in that situation is to minimize your shortfall each month. Calculate how much money you’ll be losing each month that you’re without an income and determine how many months your emergency fund will last you.

Of course, if you were just hit with an unexpected job loss and don’t have an emergency fund available to help tide you over, it does no good to tell you that now. The time to prepare is BEFORE the unexpected happens. So if you’re reading this article and are in a good financial situation, make sure that you are preparing yourself for an unexpected job loss or other financial misfortune.

Know your benefits (and when they expire)

If you’re facing an unexpected job loss, you’re likely eligible for certain benefits. Depending on your employment situation, you may have received a severance package. You’re possibly also eligible for health care through your former employer or a government agency. You’ll want to make sure to claim your unemployment benefits if you’re eligible as well. Take a look through all of these benefits and find out how much they are worth and most importantly, how long they’re good for.

Look for part-time or gig work

There are only two ways to make up a monthly shortfall. Either you can cut spending or you can increase income. Cutting spending is a good first step, but there are only so many gym memberships or iced cappuccinos that you can remove before you start cutting pretty deep. Once you’ve hit that point, you’ll want to concentrate your time and effort into increasing your income.

You’ll want to spend most of your effort into getting a new job in your field of expertise. No amount of part-time work or side hustles is likely to compensate you as well as returning back to full-time employment in your field of study. But in the meantime, here are a few ways to make extra money quickly:

Hopefully, these suggestions will help you reassess your finances after an unexpected job loss and help you survive until you can get back on your feet.

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Cleaning And Maintenance Financial Planning Unemployment

Unemployment Benefits for the Self-Employed [COVID-19 Guide for Gig Workers]

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This post can be found en Español here.

This content is for the first stimulus relief package, The Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act (The CARES Act), which was signed into law in March 2020. For information on the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2021, the stimulus relief package currently pending legislation, please visit the “New Coronavirus Relief Package: What Does it Mean for You and a Second Stimulus Check” blog post

In the past month, COVID-19 has affected businesses of all sizes. As employers are temporarily shutting their doors, many hard-working Americans are out of work.

As of 2019, there were a recorded 16 million self-employed individuals in the United States. Pew Research Center found that self-employed Americans (and the people working for them) account for 30% of the nation’s workforce – that’s 44 million jobs in total.

The problem? Historically, self-employed individuals were excluded from receiving unemployment benefits.  However, the government has stepped in, and worked to provide relief for gig workers in the face of coronavirus.

Under new coronavirus laws, self-employed workers are now eligible for unemployment benefits. If you’re an independent contractor and wondering if you are eligible to receive unemployment benefits, check out our guide below.

How COVID-19 is affecting the self-employed

For freelancers, the work impact of COVID-19 can vary significantly based on role, but by and large, many gig workers are facing some type of fallout.

Self-employed photographers are dealing with cancelled sessions, particularly in the events space. Freelance writers may find that their contracts pause or end as companies scramble to reassess budgets for the remainder of the year. Independent aestheticians can no longer help clients with facials or waxing as communities adhere to stay-at-home directives.

The above are just a few select examples, but they illustrate the reality for the millions of Americans that are part of the  self-employed community. 

Many independent contractors have already lost business, and others expect that trend to continue. According to a recent study from the Freelancer’s Union, 91% of freelancers expect to lose income in the coming weeks. While no one is certain what the future months will look like for employment, there are plenty of freelancers currently hurting financially.

Coronavirus Relief Package: Unemployment Benefits Extended

In March, more than 10 million Americans applied for unemployment benefits. Among them for the first time? Gig workers.

Traditionally, self-employed individuals didn’t qualify for unemployment benefits. Independent contractors and gig workers were also excluded from any kind of unemployment restitution, but the coronavirus outbreak has changed that.

Thanks to the $2 trillion stimulus package signed into law just a few weeks ago, gig workers now qualify for certain unemployment benefits:

What kind of unemployment benefits are available to self-employed workers?

There are several programs under the CARES Act that include benefits for self-employed workers: Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA), Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (PUC), and Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC).

These programs are designed to:

I’m self-employed. How do I know if I qualify for unemployment benefits?

Under federal law, states are now allowed to provide Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) to individuals who are self-employed. However, your eligibility depends on your personal situation and how your state elects to implement the CARES Act.

To qualify for PUA benefits, you must not be eligible for regular unemployment benefits and be unemployed, partially unemployed, or unable to work because of certain health or economic consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic. Something to keep in mind: you must first apply for regular unemployment insurance and be denied to be eligible for PUA. This process can be long, so apply as soon as possible.

Contact your state’s unemployment insurance office to learn more about the availability of unemployment benefits in your area. 

Tip: The Department of Labor (DOL) offers a comprehensive list of state unemployment insurance contacts to help you find contact information. 

How do I apply for unemployment benefits if I’m self-employed?

To receive unemployment insurance benefits, you need to file a claim with the unemployment insurance program in the state that you work.

Depending on the state, you may be able to file a claim online, by phone, or in person. Contact your state’s unemployment insurance program as soon as you can after becoming unemployed. It can take a while to begin receiving your benefits, so it’s wise to file your claim as soon as possible.

Many jobless individuals haven’t been able to apply for assistance in their states yet due to long call wait times and application eligibility rules, so make every effort to apply now.

While state requirements vary, generally you’ll need to provide the following information when filing an unemployment claim:

Note: If your work occured in multiple states, the state unemployment insurance agency you currently reside can provide more information about how to file your claim. 

Other helpful resources for freelancers impacted by COVID-19

If you need additional help outside of unemployment benefits, or you find you don’t qualify for these government relief options, there are other resources to consider. 

Key Takeaways

At Mint, we’re working hard to bring you the latest COVID-19 information to help you navigate your finances during the coronavirus outbreak. Whether you need advice for managing your student loan payments or you’re not sure how to cover bills during this time, our team is dedicated to providing the important updates you need. 

Have COVID-19 tax questions? Check out our related posts on TurboTax to stay up-to-date on the tax impact of coronavirus.

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Cleaning And Maintenance Early Career Unemployment

How to Increase Your Earning Potential

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Every year presents new lessons we should incorporate on this life journey, and this one, in particular, is no exception. In a world that is ever-changing one thing that has to remain the same is our ability to pivot when necessary. Whenever life challenges arise, we often make changes and shift out of force rather than free choice. While this logic can be applied to every aspect of our lives it’s an especially crucial concept as it relates to our finances. There’s no need to wait until your employer needs to decrease headcount or reduce work hours to jumpstart your rediscovery process. Make the decision today that no matter what happens within the economy, you are making the strides to guarantee your earning power doesn’t rest in the hands of someone else.

Set yourself apart and strengthen your skills

Often times, the number one thing you can do before executing plans of any kind is focus on strengthening your skills. Are others able to depend on you?  If you desire to run your own business or be a high-performing, contributing employee – are you reliable? Being able to breakdown complex situations and produce viable solutions, paying special attention to detail, and asking the right questions at the right time are skills that many often have, but have yet to master. Focusing on any skills that may come naturally to you while achieving mastery, in the long run, will absolutely contribute to the opportunities you are afforded over other candidates. It’s not about competition, because what’s for you won’t pass you by. It’s about actively showcasing you are indeed the best candidate with the physical results to prove it.

Seek out new opportunities and expand your skillset

People believe there are only a few ways to bring in additional income – one being a side hustle. This isn’t necessarily the case. Seeking out opportunities within your current or new place of employment can be just what you need to make substantial strides in increasing your earnings as well as visibility. Make yourself familiar with the Human Resources policies for promotions and role transitions. Look into if there are side projects you can add to your workload that can increase your skillset while being introduced to a new audience of people; consider exploring that. Be sure to document the pros and cons of the newly added responsibilities while making sure it aligns with where you ultimately want to be. Don’t shy away from having a conversation with your manager and making your goals known.

Ask for more (and quantify it)

Employers have mid-year and end of year reviews to go over performance goals and ensure the work you’ve done over time aligns with the responsibilities of the team as well as the company. While this is protocol, as an employee you don’t have to wait until this designated time to discuss career goals. Not only does this conversation create awareness between you and your manager – it allows them to understand your desire for more. I’m sure we’ve all had less than desirable bosses, coworkers, and teams. We’ve also been in situations where we know that the work required of us was so much more than the actual amount of money we were taking home. To avoid the unfortunate cycle of being overworked and underpaid that many fall into, have an open and candid conversation with management. Be sure to quantify every task and tie a metric to it if possible. This helps to build your professional story while also making sure your resume stays current for all new opportunities as they arise.

Start a side hustle

When your friends, family, or peers often ask you to complete something and you enjoy doing it; what is that ‘thing’? What talents do you innately have that seem as if it doesn’t require a huge amount of effort? The answers to these questions should birth the idea of your new side hustle. As daunting as it may sound, take the time to loosely create a plan. Remember, this is scalable! Go at the pace that is most comfortable for you and can transition well into your lifestyle. Solicit the help of family and friends while using your larger network to advertise your talent. Social media and word of mouth can go a very long way – use all outlets to promote yourself and your services.

Never underestimate the power of networking

We all have a comfort zone and typically stay within those walls on a regular basis unless probed. However, do you consider the opportunities that could be available to you by adding several new people to your network? Utilize employee resource groups at your place of employment, various professional networks in your local cities, and other organizations that have a virtual platform. Do a quick Google search based on your preferred industry and start the journey of expanding your network. There’s a very familiar phrase we’ve all heard at some point, “it’s not what you know, it’s who you know.” LinkedIn is a great social media platform to engage with professionals all over the world on various subject matters and topics. Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there and make the connections that could lead you to new opportunities.

Become a lifelong learner

Make a commitment to yourself that no matter what happens, you will always seek knowledge, no matter the method. Explore personal and professional learning opportunities. This may be pursuing an advanced degree to expand opportunities. For others, it can be obtaining a certification within your desired field to land a better position – resulting in a salary increase. If either of those doesn’t sound appealing or fit within your current life circumstances, you can always attend conferences, listen to webinars, podcasts, and so many other cost-effective (or free) learning channels to keep your skills in top shape. This could be listening to an audible book while driving in your car or reading a new article every day related to your industry before getting your day started – learning is limitless!

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