Like millions of Americans, you’ve been collecting unemployment over the past few months, because you either lost your job or were furloughed due to the pandemic. Now that the economy is slowly starting to reopen, you’re thinking about going back to work.
Since there’s still no cure or vaccine for COVID-19, you’re understandably nervous about returning to work. The extra $600 per week you’ve been receiving on top of standard unemployment benefits has been enough to live on, so you’re in no hurry to get back out there.
Your concerns make perfect sense, but there are several reasons to make your return to the workforce. Here are a few points to consider.
Get Ahead of the Competition
The extra $600 benefit ends July 31. When this happens, more people will likely start looking for work, because it can be hard to live off traditional unemployment benefits. Since the unemployment rate is at an unprecedented level, competition for jobs will be intense. However, if you’re willing to go back to work early, you’ll be employed before the rush.
Avoid Losing Important Benefits
A paycheck isn’t the only reason to go to work. Most jobs come with other benefits like health insurance and retirement plans that add up fast. If you don’t go back to work, you’ll likely be on your own for these benefits, which don’t come cheap. For example, now certainly isn’t the time to be without health insurance, but purchasing it on your own will likely consume a huge part of your budget.
You Could Be Disqualified From Unemployment
If you were furloughed and your employer has reopened, failing to return to work will likely cancel your unemployment benefits. Under traditional rules, those receiving unemployment benefits must accept any offer of suitable employment, so a job you’ve been furloughed from would certainly be considered suitable employment.
The exception would be if you’re unable to work due to other qualifying circumstances noted in the CARES Act.
Rebuild Your Emergency Fund
We’re living in extraordinary times right now. No one knows what the future holds, but currently, the COVID-19 virus appears to be slowing. This could change in the fall and winter months, so take advantage of having the ability to work right now. Get back on your feet financially and work to rebuild your emergency fund, so you’ll have a cushion to fall back on if you find yourself out of work again in a few months.
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