As the world continues to adapt through these challenging times, we want to provide some guidance that may be helpful as you navigate the next steps of your own journey.
Please find access to ClearChoice’s administrator of 401k benefits below. The Standard is available to answer any questions you may have about your holdings.
Employee Assistance Program (EAP)
The employee assistance program is available to furloughed employees (for 60 days after initial furlough) and provides a number of free benefits including licensed professional counselors that specialize in helping individuals in times of stress and anxiety.
Employee Assistance Program (EAP)
Frequently Asked Questions
Below are some of the most common questions you may be facing, along with responses that provide the best answers available at this time. (source)
- Am I eligible for unemployment insurance?
- Is there other help coming?
- What happens to my health insurance?
- What should I do if I’ve been laid off or furloughed?
- How should I pay my bills if I don’t have a job?
- Is there anywhere else I can get work?
- Will I get my job back when this is over?
Am I eligible for unemployment insurance?
If you lost your job or were furloughed because of the coronavirus, or if the company you work for is permanently or temporarily shut down because of it, you qualify for weekly unemployment payments from the state in which you worked.
You can make an unemployment claim online, over the phone or in person. The payout is based on how much you earned and aims to replace about half of your previous income. It also varies by state: In Mississippi, which pays the least among the 50 states, the average benefit in February was $215 a week; in Massachusetts, which pays the most, it was $550, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.
States also have certain requirements and conditions about who can collect unemployment benefits. Texas and Florida, for example, require recipients to be actively searching for work while they collect payments. Pennsylvania requires beneficiaries to register for employment-search services and mandates they “not refuse work when offered without good cause.”
You also have to meet certain wage and job duration benchmarks; you basically have to prove you were doing meaningful work before you became unemployed. Those requirements vary by state, but generally require having worked consecutive quarters and collecting a paycheck for a certain amount of time during those quarters.
The Cares Act also provides emergency money to states to fund another $600 a week in payments — on top of regular weekly payments — from the time a worker lost his or her job until July 31. It also funds an additional 13 weeks of payments from states, which typically cap unemployment benefits between 12 and 30 weeks. In other words, if the economy remains sour for so long that jobs aren’t available past the time your state would normally cut off benefits, there’s money from the federal government that will keep assistance flowing.
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Is there other help coming?
That $2.2 trillion relief package will provide a one-time $1,200 payment to adults making as much as $75,000, and $2,400 payments to married couples making less than $150,000 combined. Parents will also receive $500 for each dependent child.
If you’re single and make more than $75,000, but less than $99,000, you’ll get a smaller check, according to the IRS. The same goes for couples earning more than $150,000 but less than $198,000.
How you get this payment is a bit more complicated. Though the federal government pushed the tax-filing deadline from April 15 to July 15, the IRS still recommends filing your taxes soon. If the agency doesn’t have your 2019 return, it will use your 2018 return to calculate your relief payment.
Those who set up direct deposit on their tax forms will get payments sooner, the IRS said. For those who don’t, or who file their taxes by mail instead of electronically, the Treasury Department plans to set up an online portal so people can provide their banking information. If you don’t have a bank account, relief checks could take longer to arrive through the mail.
People who collect Social Security and do not file a tax return will automatically get a one-time $1,200 payment, the Treasury Department said.
The Agriculture Department and many state and local governments have made it easier for residents to get food assistance during the coronavirus crisis. The federal government boosted the amount of money for recipients of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP. The program used to be known as “food stamps.”
Many school districts are also providing meals for children and families that parents can pick up and take home. Check with your local jurisdiction about where and when these programs are available.
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What happens to my health insurance?
If you’re furloughed, you likely will hold on to your health insurance. Check with your employer about how you’ll make contributions while going without a paycheck.
If you’ve been laid off, your benefits usually end when you leave your job, which leaves you with two main options. You can keep your employer’s plan for up to three years with a federal program called COBRA, but you have to pay for premiums yourself.
For most people, the cheaper option is purchasing insurance through the Affordable Care Act, commonly known as Obamacare. Since you’ve lost your job, you may get a hefty government subsidy that will make a policy purchased through Healthcare.gov or your state’s health insurance marketplace more affordable. While you’re signing up, the online registration portal will also tell you whether you qualify for Medicaid or if children in your household qualify for the Children’s Health Insurance Plan.
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What should I do if I’ve been laid off or furloughed?
Apply for unemployment insurance benefits right away. The Cares Act provides a bunch of money for states to pay out folks who lose their jobs or get furloughed.
Next, experts say, assess your financial situation. Do you have money saved? Do you have any other sources of income? Take that all into account and make a new monthly budget. Use it as an opportunity to find out what expenses you can do without. Maybe you don’t need a paid subscription to a music streaming service. Maybe you can cancel a gym membership.
“You may see people making jokes about engaging in online retail therapy to deal with the boredom, but don’t buy into that,” said Kelley Long, a member of the financial education advocates committee at the American Institute of CPAs. “This is the time to brag about your frugality and prove to yourself how little you truly need to live on in.”
If you have a 401(k) retirement account and are younger than 59½, you can withdraw as much as $100,000 without incurring the 10 percent penalty, which has been temporarily waived under the Cares Act. You’ll still be on the hook for taxes, though.
Finally, start dusting off your resume. It’s never too early to start looking for your next job, said David M. Smith, professor of economics at Pepperdine Graziadio Business School in Malibu, Calif. Even though businesses in your field may not be hiring during the coronavirus crisis, you’ll be better off when jobs do start appearing for having prepared for those openings.
“Use the time you have to upskill and prepare for when the country is open for business again,” he said. “Set aside adequate time for this. Make it your ‘job’ to prepare yourself for your next position.”
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How should I pay my bills if I don’t have a job?
Before you do anything else, see if there’s any relief available for some of your bills.
If you have a mortgage, federal officials have imposed a nationwide halt to foreclosures and evictions for more than 30 million Americans with home loans backed by the Federal Housing Administration or two government-controlled companies, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. But close to 5 million homeowners with loans valued at $3.7 trillion are not covered by federal moratoriums, according to Inside Mortgage Finance, an industry research group. Some states, including California and New York, have paused foreclosure and eviction that would also apply to those borrowers. In other states, homeowners may have to negotiate arrangements with their mortgage provider. Regulators are encouraging banks and other mortgage providers to simply extend the life of the mortgage to make up for any missed payments brought on by joblessness.
For renters, the Cares Act in most cases forbids landlords from evicting tenants for 120 days on properties secured by government-backed mortgages (though renters’ credit scores could get dinged if their landlord reports them for non-payment). But that leaves 40 million renters without protection. Some municipalities, including Los Angeles, have passed laws temporarily banning evictions. Others, and some nonprofits, have launched rental assistance funds for residents struggling to make payments.
If your landlord is an individual, rather than a management company, contact them personally to tell them you’re struggling financially, said Long, from the American Institute of CPAs, and ask for flexibility with how much you’ll pay per month until you get back on your feet.
“Call every single one of your bills and ask them what they have to offer people who are experiencing a temporary reduction in income,” she said. “Take notes and ask about any fees, additional interest, and whether they report any postponed payments to credit bureaus.”
The new law also automatically suspends payments for six months for the 42 million Americans holding $1.5 trillion in federal student loan debt.
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Is there anywhere else I can get work?
You may not be able to get work similar to your old job. So many firms are cutting jobs and freezing hiring. But there are lots of companies hiring in “essential” fields, including grocery and drugstores, order fulfillment and delivery drivers.
Walmart is hiring 150,000 new employees around the country and has sped its normally two-week hiring process down to 24 hours in some cases. Amazon is hiring 100,00 new workers to manage a surge in demand. CVS wants to add 50,000 more jobs. Pizza chain Domino’s is hiring 10,000 workers.
There are also opportunities to work as a freelancer or independent contractor. Uber is trying to recruit drivers to its Eats food delivery platform. With folks cloistered at home, there could be some money in delivering for other platforms such as Grubhub or DoorDash.
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Will I get my job back when this is over?
Well, there’s a number of factors at play here. The first is: When will this pandemic truly be “over”? Some health experts’ estimates say the United States will see the worst of covid-19 (the most new infections and fatalities) by mid-April, and society could start opening up again by June or July.
Others have more dire predictions and worry that (a) the United States could see a resurgence of infections, and (b) that the virus could return in the fall and winter.
The longer the virus drags out, the worse it will be for businesses. And the longer businesses stay closed, the worse it will be for workers who want to reclaim their old jobs when things get back to normal. That said, many of the businesses that have laid off or furloughed workers have reported to state and local government officials that the cuts are temporary, according to the Labor Department, so business owners themselves at least plan on rehiring.
Another factor is the pace of the economy’s rebound, and experts have competing predictions of what might happen.
Goldman Sachs sees the economy contracting as much as 34 percent over April, May and June, but springing back to life with 19 percent growth in July, August and September, which would be the market’s best ever turnaround. Others see things going a bit slower. Chris Rupkey, the chief financial economist at Japanese financial services giant MUFG, said the economy is headed toward a depression rather than a recession.
“If [gross domestic product] falls 15 percent in the second quarter and then rises back 8 percent in the third quarter,” he said, “economic activity remains at a permanently lower level and does not need the same number of workers. Wishing and hoping it wasn’t true. It’s a game of musical chairs and there won’t be as many seats at the table once we get on the other side of this pandemic.”
As millions of job seekers file for unemployment benefits, here are some helpful tips and useful resources to aid you in your search, including state-specific processes for obtaining unemployment benefits.
State-by-State Guide to Unemployment Insurance
General Employment Resources
- 5 Qualities Employers Look For
- Interview Tips
- Sample Interview Questions
- General Employment Websites
- Dental Specific Employment
5 Qualities Employers Look For
1. Have the ability to make an Impact:
- Demonstrate understanding of implications of decisions made
- Consistently deliver high performance results
- Demonstrate understanding of your role and the impact on the business
2. Possess qualities that show Resilience and grit:
- Exhibit passion or perseverance for long term success
- Emphasize sustained consistent results
- Demonstrate ability to overcome obstacles
3. Take Ownership:
- Possess the “can-do” attitude when faced with challenges
- Believe you can control your own achievement
- Anticipate and take control of your environment
- Demonstrate accountability
- Exhibit ability to learn from your mistakes
- Ability to work with others effectively
- Open to feedback from all members of the team
- Focused on the team more than yourself in a team environment
- Hold yourself and the team accountable to expectations
5. Culture fit:
- Understand the core values and believe in the company mission
- Exhibit desire to continually learn and challenge the status quo
- Demonstrate genuine passion for your skill set and the business
-Read the job description thoroughly before an interview-
When looking for a new place of employment an applicant will apply to 5-10 roles based solely on the title of the role as it correlates with the candidate’s experience without reading the job description.
No interview will be the same, therefore ensure that you are prepared to answer the following types of questions:
- Questions regarding your resume or employment history
- Gaps in employment is applicable
- Traditional role related questions
- Situation based questions
- Emotional/motivational based questions
A job description is designed to capture the role from a high level, and the interviewer may go deeper in detail in regards to the role itself but you still may have questions. Know that it is ok to develop questions before the interview and during as the conversation unfolds to ensure you have a clear understanding of the role and expectations.
Recruiter and hiring managers are not only interested in your skill and ability to perform within a role but also the intangibles, be authentic in your approach.
Sample Interview Questions
- Tell me about a person or an organization that you feel has made an important impact?
- Tell me about a time you had to make a decision quickly with little information.
- Tell me about a decision you had to make without all the information you may have preferred to have?
- Tell me about a time when you went the extra mile?
- Can you describe a time you faced a challenge at work?
- Tell me about a time you had a setback?
- What role do you normally take on a team?
- Tell me about a time when a member of your team gave you critical or constructive feedback that surprised you and how you responded.
- On your last performance evaluation, which areas were you rated the strongest/weakest?
- Tell me about a change or improvement that you are most proud of, and why?
General Employment Websites
- GlassDoor: www.glassdoor.com
- Indeed: www.indeed.com
- LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/jobs/
- Zip Recruiter: www.ziprecruiter.com
- Career Builder: www.careerbuilder.com
- Facebook: www.facebook.com
- Craigslist: www.craigslist.org/d/jobs/search
- State/City Department of Labor (Dependent upon state you reside):
Colorado – www.colorado.gov/pacific/cdle/job-search
Dental Specific Employment
- Ihire Dental: www.ihiredental.com
- My dental jobs: www.mydentaljobs.com/
- Dental Power: www.dentalpower.com/
- Hygiene Town: www.hygienetown.com/classifieds/
The content of this website is for summary information purposes only. All information should be confirmed with the primary source, such as the state government unemployment site, before taking any corresponding action.