GREENSBORO, N.C. — Jobless claims skyrocketed to 14.7% during the coronavirus pandemic as companies closed their doors. If you filed for unemployment, the U.S. government added $600 a week to those benefits since April. However, when the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation boost included in the CARES Act expires in July, payments would max out in North Carolina at $350 per week.
It's a huge difference and you'll feel it in your pockets, especially if you rely on that benefit to make it through these uncertain times. Money expert Ja'net Adams says since nothing lasts forever you want to prepare now.
"This pandemic has hit the economy hard and led to tens of millions of jobs lost. The job loss was so quick and drastic that unusual measures were taken by the federal government. People on unemployment received an extra $600 per week in addition to their regular unemployment and you need to be ready when that critical time comes," said Adams.
Adams who wrote the book, The Money Attractor! Everyone's Guide To Winning With Money So They Can Live Their Dreams! offered three tips to prepare yourself for the changes and make your dollar stretch.
First, Adams says you need to take the time and write down your monthly expenses.
"It is important to know who you owe money to during this time especially if you have put some bills on hold. Knowing who you owe will help you to catch up on some bills before the extra $600 disappears," Adams said.
Second, make sure you give each dollar direction. Pay the expenses that could not be put on hold like your groceries, then start putting the extra money you were getting from the $600 a week payment towards bigger bills that have been put on hold.
"Start with the most important bill: your rent or mortgage because you need to have a roof over your head. If there is still money left, see what utilities need to be paid and pay them. If you still have money left make sure to save it for an emergency," said Adams.
Lastly, you need to get moving. Adams says act as if the $600 weekly payment ends today.
"You should start looking for a new job because the process could take some time, so you should start as soon as possible. If you don't want to work outside of your home anymore you can apply to "work from home" jobs which there are plenty right now," said Adams.
The bottom line is you don't want to hold off looking for a job until July and Adams' best advice is to plan now.
"Don't count on the $600 going on any longer than July. With that in mind it is time to take control of your financial future," said Adams.