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A Guide for Unemployed Parents to Balance Family and Finances During COVID-19

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3 Ways You and Your Family Can Get Back on Your Feet During Coronavirus

Losing a job is unnerving at any time, especially when you’re a parent. While the coronavirus has complicated matters, it is possible to make it through these tough times. Here are three ways you can help yourself and your family during coronavirus.

Look for Relief Programs

CARES ACT

The federal government passed the CARES Act at the end of March to help everyday Americans. If you earned less than $75,000 in 2019, you will receive a $1,200 check with no strings attached. The stimulus check decreases in size for salaries above $75,000 and disappears at $100,000.

Those cutoffs are for single filers. The adjusted gross income threshold is $112,500 if you are a head-of-household filer and $150,000 if you are married filing jointly. Note that there is no minimum salary necessary to earn a stimulus check.

As a parent, you will also receive $500 for every dependent you have under the age of 17. Older children and other dependents are not eligible for this payment. You may have received your check already. If not, you can track your stimulus check with the online IRS portal.

PAYCHECK PROTECTION PROGRAM (PPP)

If your employer is eligible for Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), you can expect a paycheck for eight weeks. PPP is part of the CARES Act and includes $349 billion in loans to small businesses that keep employees on their payroll. If the company spends at least 75 percent of their loan on payroll, they will be eligible for loan forgiveness.

UNEMPLOYMENT INSURANCE

If you are not covered by PPP, file for unemployment insurance. The program is available to anyone who is laid off through no fault of their own. Your state’s unemployment program will compensate approximately half of your paycheck for 12 to 39 weeks.

The US Department of Labor is also expanding unemployment benefits due to COVID-19. Many people that are ordinarily ineligible can now collect unemployment. That includes:

  • Self-employed workers
  • Workers with children or dependents
  • Workers that quit because of COVID-19
  • Workers that were furloughed because of COVID-19
  • People that were scheduled to work but can't because of COVID-19
  • Individuals that are now the head of household due to a COVID-19 death

Trim Your Monthly Expenses

FIND FREE MEALS

Many kids rely on a school lunch five times a week. With schools across the country going online, those meals have disappeared. Fortunately, some places, like Transylvania County in North Carolina and cities in West Michigan, are offering free lunches via a grab-and-go system. Depending on your school district, your child needs to be present, or you need to fill out paperwork to claim the meal.

Several restaurant chains are offering free meals and food deals. McDonald's, Wings Over, and Mo's Southwest Grill are offering free meals for kids at select locations. Other restaurants are offering significant discounts, free delivery, and limited-time promotions to help consumers.

MAKE BUDGET-FRIENDLY MEALS

If you want to keep prices down at the grocery, stock up on filling foods like beans, potatoes, oatmeal, and rice. When you’re buying meat, purchase the whole chicken or turkey instead of the precut option. Additionally, frozen and canned fruits and vegetables are cheaper and more shelf-stable than their fresh counterparts. You can also visit a food pantry or food bank, which distributes food to people in need.

MAKE PAYMENTS ON YOUR SCHEDULE

The coronavirus is presenting parents with unprecedented financial strain. United is lessening that burden. We are offering Members payment relief so that you can manage your finances and family life at the same time. Members can take advantage of:

  • No fees and expanded eligibility on CD withdrawals
  • No fees on loan payments by phone
  • Deferred payments on student loans for 90 days
  • Skip a payment for a monthly bill

Stand Out During Your Job Search

FIND WHICH INDUSTRIES ARE HIRING

The coronavirus has shifted consumer’s buying habits. As a result, many workers are changing industries to match the newly placed demand.

For instance, grocery stores are on a hiring spree. Kroger is hiring 10,000 people, and Walmart is hiring 150,000 people. Meanwhile, the food delivery service InstaCart has opened 300,000 new positions.

Other industries that are hiring include IT support, tutoring, teleworking, communications, pharmacies, and shipping companies. Amazon is hiring 100,000 across the US to fulfill shipments and deliveries. While it is unclear how long the COVID-19 outbreak will last, these industries will have the most job opportunities for the foreseeable future.

REBRAND YOUR RESUME

If you are going to pivot careers, you should update your resume to match the job you want. For example, if you want to be a store manager, highlight skills that show you’re qualified for that specific position. Make it as easy as possible for hiring managers to see you’re the best candidate.

Some positions may require gaining experience or skill. In that case, use any free time to focus on self-improvement. Online resources, like Coursera, Skillshare, and Lynda, help you become qualified. Plus, taking the initiative to learn a new skill will stand out to employers.

The Bottom Line

It’s okay to feel overwhelmed by COVID-19. There are millions of Americans going through the same thing. You’re not alone whether you are looking at relief programs, making a budget, or searching for a job. While the coronavirus feels never-ending, things will eventually get better. Following these three steps can help you weather the storm until we reach the other side.