Within the first few weeks of losing your job, you will need to do a lot of work, almost as if you worked full time. There are two priorities that you will need to focus on to get over the loss and look to the future. The first and most important is your financial situation and the second of course is setting in motion your search for a new job. Both of these aspects are discussed in detail below.
If you have lost your job, you may be freaking out about your debts and how to pay for them. The very first thing you need to do, is lay out your finances in total. If you stick your head in the sand and hope to get through the crisis by ignoring it, you could lose your home, vehicle and possessions. The only way to protect yourself is to take inventory and tackle the most important items first.
First list all of your debt and monthly expenses, including those you would rather forget about. Make a list of your monthly debt payments and then make a list of your monthly personal expenses. Remember that your monthly personal expenses should only include the bare minimums for food and clothing and should not include a budget for entertainment. The priority in your new budget will be paying your rent or mortgage, utility and tax bills and vehicle payments. All other debt including credit cards, unsecured debt and catalogue debt will have to be considered secondary.
The secondary debt, if you cannot pay it, will not be able to force you from your home. The worst case scenario would be if they took you to court and you were forced to pay an amount the court finds “affordable” within your budget.
When you lose your job, after figuring out what your basic monthly payments will be, you can apply for either Universal Credit, if it is available in your area or Job Seeker’s Allowance to help out with finances. UC is now one lump sum payment including all available government benefits, loans and tax credits, while JSA is one payment, and you will need to apply for other Tax Credits that you qualify for separately.
It is also important to make a claim against any outstanding insurance you may have for mortgage payment protection insurance, payment protection insurance, or short term income protection insurance. Some of these may be automatically included in your credit card fees or household insurance, check with your insurers immediately.
Finally reach out to friends and family if needed for short term financial aid. Alternatively you can also reach out to many charity organisations that provide one-time or short-term financial aid in crisis situations.
After you have secured your financial plan going forward, the second most important aspect is conducting an exhaustive job search. From the local Job Centre Plus near you to joining a job club or conducting your own job search networking. You will need to be aggressive and determined. Reach out to your friends and family about any work they may hear about, short-term, part-time or casual. Any work will help get you through this tough time. It is better to get any job immediately, so that it can finance a long term job search for the actual job you want than to slide into financial ruin waiting for the perfect job.
Remember to seek emotional support once you lose your job, some of the toughest issues in job loss is dealing with the emotional roller coaster that follows a major life derailment like job loss.