Serving Metropolitan Detroit Since 1944


etermine Your Eligibility for Unemployment Benefits

People who lose their job through no fault of their own and have worked a certain

number of hours may be eligible to receive unemployment; eligibility requirements

differ by state. Visit

unemployment-benefits.aspx to look up eligibility requirements in your state. While

unemployment benefits will be significantly less than what your salary was, they

still will help you get by until you land your next job.

Prepare a Complete Household Budget

Getting control of your personal finances is important to survive unemployment.

Use a household budget worksheet available at to see where you spend your money and where you can save. If appropriate,

include your family in developing your budget.

Your budgeted expenses should include:

• Fixed expenses (mortgage, rent, taxes, insurance, loan installment payments,child support and other fixed monthly payments)

• Variable monthly expenses (food, gas, repairs, utilities, health care expenses, recreation and child care)

• Future expenses (income or property tax and other outstanding debts)

Your budgeted income should include:

• Income

• Savings

• Severance pay

• Unemployment compensation

• Accrued vacation pay

List Assets

Other assets may include:

• Cash value of insurance policies

• Prepaid burial or funeral policies

• Equity in your home (the difference between the value of your home and theamount you owe on your home)

• Resale value of vehicles, boat, RV, etc.

Set Priorities for Your Expenses

List payments in order of importance. This will help you pay first things first when money is short.

The most important thing will be your mortgage or rent payment, followed by utilities, health insurance and car payments. Child support or alimony payments

(if any) are also a high priority.

Make a Complete List of Creditors

List the following information for each creditor:

• Company/organization, name, physical and email address, and phone number of a contact person

• Account number

• Total amount owed

• Payment schedule and interest rates

Notify Your Creditors Before You Get Behind

Determine how much you can pay regularly on each bill. If you need to negotiate a lower monthly payment than your creditors expect, determine the amount you can pay and contact them before you get behind to make arrangements for the new payment amount.

Creditors usually are easier to work with when you let them know about your situation before a severe problem arises.

Contact creditors in writing:

• Tell them you need to work out a plan for delaying, reducing or refinancing payments until you return to work

• Always include your account number, phone number and address in all correspondence

• Keep copies of your letters and follow up by phone

• When you make your follow-up phone call, record the date, time and with whom you spoke

Pay What You Can

Even if you can't pay the amount creditors want, pay something regularly. This

keeps your overdue balance as low as possible and lets creditors know you are

making a good faith effort. Partial payment may keep your account from being

turned over to a collection agency.

Stay in Touch with Creditors

After your first letter, keep in regular contact with your creditors. This reassures

them, shows a responsible attitude and may keep them from harassing you.

Make sure you don't ignore mail from creditors that may contain important

information about your account.

Call a Credit Counseling Agency

Nonprofit credit counseling organizations can help you create a revised

household budget, identify potential areas to reduce expenses and sources

of additional income, provide advice on how to work with creditors, and more.

Visit for information on credit counseling.

Stop Credit Purchases

Stop using all of your credit cards; interest on most credit purchases is extremely

high. If you have advance warning that you'll be out of work, try to make larger

payments to reduce the balance you owe.

Reduce Household Expenses

• Adjust your buying habits-only shop when you need to, make a list, and

compare prices and brands

• Use coupons

• Identify food pantries and other sources of free or lower-cost food

• Reduce cell phone plan costs, and internet and cable bills

• Reduce utility costs by:

• Turning off lights, TV and appliances when not in use

• Lowering the thermostat on your hot water heater and furnace, or turning up

your air conditioner

• Washing and drying only full loads of clothes or dishes

• Calling utility companies to ask about hardship assistance

• Eliminate unnecessary car trips

• Consider getting a housemate/tenant to share household expenses

Check Into Other Financial Resources

Look into sources of financial assistance that may be available through federaland state government programs and nonprofit organizations (Supplemental


Reader Comments(0)