What should you do if you’re facing unemployment, and you need cash assistance to hold you over until you’re able to work again, or find a job? The first thing to remember is that you’re not alone. 80% of U.S. adults will face unemployment or poverty at some point in their lives. That’s 4 out of 5 people you know. Everyone has been there, will be there, or is there right now. But just because you’re there right now, doesn’t mean you have to be for much longer. Here are 5 secret ways to get cash assistance or save you money if you’re unemployed:
1. Reduce Your Rent or Mortgage to Survive Unemployment
Most people’s biggest expense is typically their rent or home mortgage. If you need to keep a roof over your head while you’re unemployed, there are a few little-known steps you can take to help ease your financial burden. You can even get help paying bills like heat, water, and electricity.
If you own a home and you’ve gotten backed up on mortgage payments since you became unemployed, you could be eligible for mortgage reduction programs like the Home Affordable Unemployment Program. Using this program, you can reduce your monthly mortgage payments down to 30% of your income. If you qualify, you could even suspend your mortgage payments for a full year.
If you rent, there’s also a way to reduce your necessary living expenses: ask nicely. If you approach your landlord the right way, you can work out a way to temporarily reduce your monthly rent, set up a payment plan, or even waive your rent for a couple months until you can find employment. Here’s how to start a rent reduction meeting with your landlord:
Start by doing some prep work. Set aside the money you need for your most basic expenses (food, bills, gas, etc.), then calculate how much you have left for rent.
- Offer the most money that you possibly can to your landlord within your budget.
- Discuss what you can do to stay on good terms: How much can you pay each month? Offer to make up the difference in repair/maintenance work.
- Be specific: How many months will this last? When is the deadline to pay them back? How many hours of work around the property will you offer to make up the difference in rent payments?
- Get it in writing: Once you’ve settled on a temporary plan for rent reduction, put everything in writing and have it notarized; just so everyone is legally protected and on the same page.
- Be respectful: If your landlord is willing to stick their neck out for you during your employment, reassure them that this is temporary and keep them updated on your employment status. They’re doing you a favor, so show them how much you appreciate their understanding of your situation.
If you can find a way to reduce your living expenses, you’ll be able to successfully stay in your home without having to worry about running out of money or becoming homeless. Get a roommate if you have to. There are also government housing subsidies programs that can help. These are tricks that not many people know!
2. The Best Resources for Cash Assistance for the Unemployed
The best resources are the ones that you’ve already heard of a million times: government assistance programs, grants, unemployment benefits, etc. But which programs are available? How do you access these programs and services? How easy or difficult is it to qualify for each program?
The answers to these questions are less readily available.
You don’t get free money from the government. That’s just not how it works. But, if you’re eligible, receiving assistance is fairly easy. Eligibility standards can be picky, and vary widely by state, department, and so on. It can be a pain to sort out, but these programs are your best bet for cash assistance if you find yourself without a job.
Your first stop should always be benefits.gov. This site will walk you through what kind of cash assistance benefits you’re eligible to receive, what you’ll need to do to apply, the best way to get approved, and how the whole process works. You’ll only be able to receive unemployment cash assistance for a set period of time, and the money goes quickly It’s important to keep in mind that benefits aren’t a lasting solution. But, benefits are a useful resource that will help you make ends meet until you find a new job. Benefits.gov sometimes offers personal grants to individuals, but more often than not, they give out grants to universities, schools, and not-for-profit organizations. But it never hurts to try.
You can also apply for a government subsidized loan at GovLoans.gov. It’s a loan, so you’ll have to pay it back plus interest, but government subsidized loans are a better form of assistance because the interest rates are typically affordable. Again, they’re not just going to give you free cash. They will, however, make it easier for you to pay off the loan than most lenders, and the government is generally much more understanding of varying financial circumstances. The government also offers business loans, so if you’re interested in becoming self-employed, the government can help there to.
In addition to government loans, you might also be eligible for getting a loan by borrowing against collateral that you already own. The last thing you should do when you’re unemployed is sell your car. Most likely you’ll need your car to get to job interviews, appointments, etc. Instead of selling your car, you can safely loan the title of your car as collateral. Title loans are a short term loan, so you’ll need to be prepared to pay it off sooner rather than later.
3. Ways to Lean On Your Community for Cash While You’re Unemployed
This seems like another common-sense method for getting cash , but it’s also one of the most immediately effective. Shake off the stigma of asking people you know for help. Consider these secret local resources:
- Online GoFundMe campaigns
- Not-for-profit or charity organizations
- Food banks
- Businesses offering basic services you need
- Childcare providers
- Medical offices
- Job placement services
- Education outreach resources
- Community leaders
- Friends and family!
These basic resources can help provide you with a source of income while you’re unemployed, and they may also be able to help you get through your financial rough patch in many other ways. Local grocery stores might be able to give you a temporary discount if you don’t qualify for food stamps, local churches can bring you basic supplies you need, so that you don’t have to pay for them (such as toiletries, hygiene products, clothes, cooked meals, etc.), and food banks are happy to give out pantry items to anyone who needs their cupboards restocked for free.
Local hair salons often cut hair for free if you’re unemployed and need to look nice for an interview. There are places that will offer free babysitting services for your kids while you’re out on the job hunt, interviewing, or attending job fairs. This will help ease many small financial burdens that you can’t afford while you’re unemployed, even if they can’t provide you with upfront cash. There are always other ways to help that will make a big difference: all you have to do is ask!
Be sure to return the favor once you’re employed and back on your feet. In addition to paying back the friends and family that offered you help, you can show your gratitude in free ways. Bring some cookies to people who helped you out, make donations to the food pantry, or volunteer to the charities that provided you with cash assistance.
4. Charities Can Float Bills And May Offer $1,000 Cash
Organizations like Modest Needs will provide direct cash assistance to those who are unemployed. They dole out money based on who needs it most right away, then work down the list. If you’re deeper in debt, your unemployment checks have run out, and you have kids or dependants counting on you, you’ll be bumped up on the list.
Rather than loans, Modest Needs offers grants to the unemployed who are eligible. As always, you’ll have to go through a series of steps to prove that you’re eligible, and it’s not a lasting solution. But, it will give you a quick source of cash assistance to pay for basic expenses while you’re unemployed and looking for a job.
5. Ways to Get Fast Cash Assistance While You’re Unemployed
These don’t replace a steady paying job with benefits, but it will bring in some petty cash to supplement your employment benefit checks for the time being.
Here are some secret ways to make quick cash while unemployed:
- Be a guinea pig for science.
Sign up for reseach testing at www.clinicaltrials.gov and www.centerwatch.com. These two sites offer major cash compensation if you want to be a test subject. Some of the studies are simple like taking surveys, offering opinions on products, watching films, and so on, but some are more time and energy intensive, like running on treadmills while you’re hooked up to monitors, sleep research, drug testing, etc. More intensive studies are the ones that will tend to pay more, but you also typically have to meet more requirements to be considered eligible. If you’re young and healthy (or sometimes the opposite, depending on the research studies) this is an interesting way to make some extra dough while you’re seeking employment.
- Turn your car into a billboard.
You can use your car for extra cash, and all it takes is some logos and slogans slapped to the side of your car. After that, just use your car as your normally would. Drive around, park your car, and do whatever. With slogans and logos on your car, you’re a marketing representative for a company that wants their image driving on the streets. Your car is a moving, eye-catching billboard. Check out resources like Free Car Media to learn how to use your car to advertise.
- Check online for odd jobs.
Be sure to do some homework to ensure that the quick cash opportunity isn’t actually a scam. But more often than not, there are quick odd jobs available online that can provide easy cash assistance while you’re unemployed. Data entry, typing jobs, translation services for bilingual applicants, online surveys, selling recyclable materials, yard work, child- or pet-sitting jobs, manual labor, creating Craigslist listings to help people sell goods, etc. You have a skill that you could put towards a temporary gig to supply yourself with a source of cash assistance during your unemployed phase.
Using these secret tricks will get your cash assistance while you’re unemployed, but here’s how to get a job and more.
As you’re well aware, the goal is to stop being unemployed. These tips will help make being unemployed a little easier and less stressful, but they won’t fix the problem. Finding a job is hard, especially if you’re disabled or have medical issues that make holding down employment difficult, but there are resources to help you not just survive unemployment, including end your unemployment phase. Using these resources will get you back to a steady job and steady income. Good luck!
Check out some of these additional helpers…
- find cash assistance while you’re unemployed
- find resources for job searching and placement
- provide assistance for child support, housing, rent, bills, etc.
- find state funded cash assistance
- and more!