Losing one’s job is an incredibly stressful situation and during a global pandemic, it can feel impossible to know what to do and where to start. We’ve gathered some information to assist you in knowing where to begin:
- Unemployment – State UI (Unemployment Insurance) departments are overwhelmed – so be prepared that you are going to have to wait to get in contact with someone or get your account set up. Most states are waiving waiting periods. Check your state to see if they are doing registration based on alpha last name. If possible, try to set up your account online and if you have forgotten your password and are having trouble resetting it, there might be ways to find a loophole to get it reset. (For example: If you are in NY – NYS ID is used across state systems. If you can’t do a forgotten password on the UI site, see if you can do it on the NY State of Health, or another NYS website.)
- The CARES Act, passed this week, expands UI by 13 weeks and adds $600 to the weekly amount an individual would usually receive. We recommend that you visit your state UI site for specifics and updates, as they are different by state.
- Health Insurance – if you lose your health insurance, due to a job loss and have no access or cannot afford COBRA, reach out immediately to your state exchange (or federal exchange), this is a qualifying event. Find out if you qualify for a subsidy on a qualified health plan, or if you are in a Medicaid expansion state – see if you qualify for Managed Medicaid or other programs. You will need to have a letter from your employer, on employer letterhead that indicates the termination of your employment. Most states you will find access to healthcare options at healthcare.gov or, as in NYS – you may have your own state exchange – nystateofhealth.ny.gov
- Are you eligible for Medicare and never enrolled because you had benefits through your job? A loss of employer coverage gives you a special enrollment period to enroll in Medicare Part B & then into a Medicare Advantage Plan or Supplement Plan. Contact our offices if you’d like further details on Medicare enrollment at 518-828-1100.
- If you need to speak to a mental health professional – there are many resources for you to access. States have set up free services, as have some insurance companies. Optum Health has a no-cost program you can access at 1-866-342-6892.
Make sure that you document all your calls, dates, times and with whom you spoke – as details of your conversations are incredibly important. Get confirmation numbers, if available – to be able to refer back to as you work through these overwhelmed systems.