What to Do When the Unemployment Fountain Runs Dry

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For millions of unemployed workers, even though the government has seen fit to extend unemployment benefits to a total of 52 weeks, the jobs are just not there. Especially those over fifty are having a tough time. So, if the unemployment check goes away, how do you keep body and soul together - food on the table and a roof over your head?

Unemployment Extensions

Most folks, when their unemployment checks quit coming, can apply for an extension of benefits. Some may be eligible in spite of the fact that federal money has allowed for extensions across the board. After those have run out, apply for another extension. The length of the supplemental extension will probably be determined by the unemployment rate in your state. The higher it is, the longer your extension may be.

Temporary Assistance for Needy Families

Do not be taken aback that this benefit is typically called welfare. It is a benefit due any tax paying citizen. You have been paying into this system since you began working and it is there to help you. Also, applying for TANF will ease your way into the food stamp program. This program can also assist you in your job search. To qualify for these benefits you must meet certain income requirements. TANF is funded by the federal government, but each state administers the program. Your benefits and qualifications may vary from state to state.

Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program

SNAP manages the distribution of food stamps to folks across the U.S. You can receive benefits of this nature for up to 26 weeks if you qualify for TANF. Extensions may be available from 13-20 weeks. Depending on the size of your family, food stamp benefits may vary. Instead of using actual food stamps, most programs issue an EBT card which you can use like an ATM or credit card to pay for your groceries. Be aware that the card cannot be used for certain items, for instance, paper towels, household cleaners, or prepared food such as birthday cakes or steamed shrimp.


People with low incomes usually qualify for medical benefits under the federal program called Medicaid. This plan allows for recompense to be sent directly to health care managers. Depending on the state, coverage can range from complete or you may be obligated for a co-payment. Though you may not qualify for this benefit, there is a chance that your children could be covered. Check with your advisers at your unemployment office.

Home Energy Assistance Program

HEAP helps low-income families to cover heating costs in the winter and cooling costs in the summer. If you qualify for SNAP or TANF, chances are you can get help to foot your energy bills under HEAP.

You Have Paid So Help Yourself

There are few things to keep in mind when you apply for the benefits listed above. You have been paying into the system since you started working. It is there to help folks who have fallen on hard times. You are certainly not alone in this recessionary economy. You should not be embarrassed to avail yourself of these benefits.

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