Furloughed during the COVID-19 pandemic? Here’s what you can expect.

Couple reviewing finances during COVID-19 furlough

If you’ve been furloughed due to COVID-19, you might be feeling uncertain and overwhelmed. Though unemployment and furlough rates have skyrocketed since the pandemic first hit, you are not powerless in this situation.

Furloughed Amid COVID

As of May, there were approximately 21 million unemployed Americans, making up 13.3% of the total US population. 73% of these unemployed individuals reported they were on furlough. While the June 2020 Jobs Report showed a lowered unemployment rate of 11.1%, the number is subject to change, depending upon the state of public health and business activity. United Airlines, for example, announced in early July that it may furlough an additional 3,600 employees.

If you find yourself furloughed, rest assured that it is likely you will return to work after a period of time. You may find comfort in knowing that furloughs are a temporary solution to reduce costs, thereby protecting your job and the company in the long run.

Life After Furlough

You do have options and opportunities during this time. The following are our top tips for what to do next:

  1. Apply for Unemployment Insurance – You should apply for unemployment benefits right away. Under the CARES Act, the list of those eligible to claim benefits has been extended to include furloughed employees, which has provided some much-needed relief during uncertain times. Here’s how to apply.
  2. Re-organize Your Finances – This is the time to reassess your financial situation. Consider how much money you have saved and if you have any other sources of income. Call around to see if you can take advantage of new interest rates or payment forgiveness programs. Create a new monthly budget and determine what expenses are unnecessary.
  3. Review Your Mortgage or Rent – If you have a mortgage, there is a nationwide halt on foreclosures and evictions for home loans backed by the Federal Housing Administration, Fannie Mae, and Freddie Mac. If you are renting, the CARES Act has forbidden many landlords from evicting tenants for 120 days on properties that have government-backed mortgages (it is important to note, though, that your credit score could be negatively impacted if you are reported for non-payment, so be sure to communicate your needs and situation). If your landlord is an individual, you can ask for flexibility with monthly payments until your situation improves.
  4. Get a Clear Picture from Work – After a day or two, outline clear terms with your employer about your furlough period. Waiting a day or two will help you settle from the initial shock or worry that can emerge from that first conversation. Identify what will happen to your health insurance, on what conditions you may return, and so on. With time, you can formulate clear questions, begin to understand the bigger picture, and plan for what’s ahead.

Thinking Ahead

Your furlough can last for six months before your company must decide whether or not you will return to work. Of course, there is also the risk that you will not be asked to return. Regardless of the outcome of your furlough period, this time provides a uniquely valuable opportunity to consider options and evaluate your path. Consider if you are happy in your job and industry. Do you love it, or would you prefer to leave it? Is it time to think of a new opportunity and projection?

How to Flourish in Furlough
Dealing with a furlough isn’t something you need to approach on your own. With Wickham Financial & Insurance Services, our team of experts can help you flourish, rather than flounder. Together, we can evaluate your situation and create a plan to build toward recovery. We’re here to help, to move you forward with the advice and insights that will keep you strong and prepared for the future. Take the fear out of furlough – contact us today and let us help you tackle what’s ahead.

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