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Lost Your Job Because of COVID-19? Here are Your Next Steps

Cardinal Innovations Healthcare — March 26, 2020 — 4 min read
In times of COVID-19, we are called to be informed, follow the recommendations to prevent the spread of the virus and be ready for unique challenges impacting all areas of our lives. Losing our job may be one of those hardships. If that’s where you are, here are some actions you can take to stay afloat:
  • Put your situation in context. Remember that you are not alone. About 18% of American households report at least one member of their family has already lost their job or had their hours reduced because of the coronavirus.
  • Reinvent yourself. Be more creative than ever. If your work allows for it, activate new ways to provide your product or service or explore new business opportunities. For example, some restaurants are focusing on takeout and delivery. Others are modifying their original products and turning them into hygiene products, such as hand sanitizer.
  • Apply for unemployment.  North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper ordered unemployment benefits to be provided to people who have lost their jobs or whose hours have been reduced due to COVID-19. These changes were included in Executive Order 118. Under this order, some restrictions have been removed. These include waiting a week after losing your job to apply and showing that you are actively looking for a job. 

Who can apply for unemployment?

  • People who are separated from employment
  • People whose work hours have been reduced
  • People who can't work due to a medical condition or are under direct quarantine orders because of COVID-19

How to apply for unemployment?

The fastest way to apply is online. You can follow these steps:

1. Create an online account

2. Make sure you have the following information available: 
  • Your Social Security number
  • Your bank’s routing number and account number for direct deposit. Otherwise, you will receive benefits through a debit card issued by the North Carolina Division of Employment Security (DES).
  • Your work history for the past two years.
  • Non-citizens need to provide their "alien number" and expiration date from their Employment Authorization Document. 
3. Once you’ve applied, the state will ask your employer to confirm that you've been let go or had your hours reduced because of the virus. Employers have 10 days to respond. No payments will be released prior to that 10-day period.

The online process takes approximately 30 minutes. For help, you can call 1-888-737-0259 Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. For more detailed information and answers to common questions about the filing process, visit North Carolina Division of Employment Security (DES). You can also find guidance on workers’ issues related to COVID-19 by accessing the North Carolina State Office for Human Resources.
Some other things you can do to navigate the impact of losing your job are:
  • Call your mortgage company and ask for assistance. Depending on your specific situation, you may be eligible to have your mortgage payments reduced or suspended for up to 12 months.
  • Ask your student loan provider and credit card companies for assistance. Credit card companies often have financial hardship programs where they can temporarily reduce payments or lower interest rates.
  • Evaluate your budget. If you don’t have a budget, create one now. Review all your expenses and see where you can cut. Tighten as much as you can because no one knows how long this will last.
  • Network and connect virtually. This is a good time to reach out to your sector’s business and resource groups, such as the NC Chamber, for support and advice. Use this time to update your resume and your LinkedIn profile. Reach out to friends and old contacts in your industry and let them know you are looking for work. Connect with others and see how you can help them out.
Remember to protect your mental health during this trying time. This is also an opportunity to build resilience and come out stronger on the other side.  
 
 
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