PREFACE: Job loss is one of the most difficult and traumatic events that we can experience in our lives. The greatest enemy of the Dislocated Worker is complacency. In addition to the shock of losing a job, the routine and structure that work provided is also lost. Taking a little time off can quickly turn into months. The vast majority of Dislocated Workers underestimate the amount of time and effort needed to secure new work. The purpose of this guide is to provide the next steps to take after job loss, in order of their importance.
1.) COMPREHENSIVE INFORMATION ON JOB LOSS TOPICS & AVAILABLE SERVICES
Commonwealth of Pennsylvania “Here to Help” Service Locator Website: http://www.heretohelp.pa.gov/
AFL-CIO/Working America Unemployment Lifeline: http://www.unemploymentlifeline.com/
AFL-CIO “When the Paycheck Stops”: www.aflcio.org/issues/jobseconomy/unemployment/handbook
Government Benefits & Program Search (17 Agencies/Over 1,000 Programs): http://www.govbenefits.gov/
2.) YOU WILL NEED TO GET YOUR FINANCIAL HOUSE IN ORDER: Your job loss will inevitably result in a decrease in your household income. You will need to take proactive steps to assess your financial obligations, as well as your discretionary spending. Spending like you’re still working is a recipe for disaster.
Contact your Mortgage Lender or Landlord, Utilities Providers, Credit Cards, Student Loans, Auto Loans, College or Technical Schools and just about anyone else you owe a monthly bill, and make them aware of the fact you have lost your job through no fault of your own. People often pay insurance on loans and credit cards that will cover all or part of the bill in case of job loss or disability. Payments and interest rates can be lowered, or loans put into forbearance status. Sit down and make a household budget to assess what your fixed and discretionary costs are, and where you can save some money. Consumer Credit Counseling can assist you.
Consumer Credit Counseling of NEPA: www.cccsnepa.org or call 1-800-922-9537
AFL-CIO UnionPlus Guide to Managing Debt: http://www.uniondebthelp.org/
AFL-CIO UnionPlus Benefits for Union Members: http://www.unionplus.org/
3.) EDUCATE YOURSELF ON YOUR HEALTH INSURANCE OPTIONS: Did you know that a 63 day lapse in medical coverage can result in pre-existing conditions not being covered for 6-12 months even when you get new insurance? Did you know you have 60 days to elect COBRA coverage, then another 45 days to pay the first premium? 50% of all personal bankruptcy filings in the U.S. today are blamed partially or entirely as a result of medical expenses. Without at least some form of catastrophic coverage, most of us are one serious illness or injury away from financial ruin. With the 65% COBRA Premium Reduction Program, continuing coverage in your old plan is often the best option, however, it is NOT your only option.
U.S. Dept of Labor COBRA Homepage: www.dol.gov/ebsa/COBRA.html or Call 1-866-444-3272
Pennsylvania Dept of Insurance (Includes Adult Basic): www.insurance.pa.gov or Call 1-877-881-6388
PA State Childrens Health Insurance Program (CHIP):http://www.chipcoverspakids.com/ or Call 1-800-986-5437
PA DPW Medical Assistance: www.dpw.state.pa.us/ServicesPrograms/MedicalAssistance
Shop for Individual Policy Prices: http://www.ehealthinsurance.com/
Federally Funded Health Clinics (Pay based on income): http://www.findahealthcenter.hrsa.gov/
Partnership for Prescription Assistance: http://www.pparx.org/ or Call 1-888-477-2669
Blue Cross of NEPA (HIPPA Conversion/Individual Plans): http://www.bcnepa.com/ or Call 1-888-338-2211
Geisinger Health Plans ( Individual Plans): http://www.thehealthplan.com/ or Call 1-800-631-1656
Veterans Administration Health & Prescription Benefits: http://www.va.gov/ or Call 1-800-827-1000
4.) TAKE PROACTIVE STEPS TO AVOID MORTGAGE FORECLOSURE ISSUES: If you do get behind on your mortgage or are in danger of falling behind, use the resources found below. The worst possible course of action is doing nothing, or pretending them problem is not there, until it’s too late.
Federal Govt (HUD) Guide to Avoiding Foreclosure: www.hud.gov/foreclosure
PA Homeowner’s Emergency Mortgage Assistance Program: http://www.phfa.org/ or Call 1-800-342-2397
Home Ownership Preservation Foundation: http://www.995hope.org/ or Call 1-888-995-HOPE
U.S. HUD Department Mortgage Modification Program: http://www.makinghomeaffordable.gov/
5.) UNEMPLOYMENT COMPENSATION INCOME SUPPORT:
Unemployment Compensation Service Locator (Nationwide): http://www.servicelocator.org/OWSLinks.asp
PA Unemployment Compensation Website: http://www.uc.pa.gov/ (Initial & Continuing Claims can be filed)
PA Toll Free Initial Claims Line: 1-888-313-7284/ 1-888-334-4046 (Hearing Impaired)
PA Toll Free Tele-claims (Continuing Claims):1-888-255-4728/1-888-411-4728 (Hearing Impaired)
6.) GETTING BACK TO WORK: Every state has One Stop Career Centers, in Pennsylvania they are referred to as PA CareerLink®. At your local PA CareerLink® you can access re-employment services, job search assistance, career guidance, resume writing assistance, interview preparation, various workshops, Civil Service Employment guidance, internet access, basic computer classes, labor market information, information on training and education and options for funding training, On the Job Training programs and referrals to other state, federal and local employment and social services. Veterans Employment Representatives are on hand to provide services to Veterans of the Armed Forces. Get to know your local CareerLink’s® services and the staff.
Locate your Local Career One Stop Center (Nationwide): http://www.servicelocator.org/
PA CareerLink Homepage: http://www.pacareerlink.state.pa.us/
Indeed.com Job Board: http://www.indeed.com/ (Searches Monster, CareerBuilder, Local Classifieds & other sites)
PA Civil Service Homepage: http://www.scsc.state.pa.us/ / PA Non-Civil Service Jobs: http://www.employment.pa.gov/
Federal Government Jobs: http://www.usajobs.opm.gov/
7.) RESUMES, COVER LETTERS & JOB SEARCH TIPS: In addition to these services being available to you through the staff and workshops at your local CareerLink®, help is also available on the web. Invest in a USB Drive to store digital copies of all of your employment related documents for uploading to employers websites, it will make your life much easier. Crafting a Resume that does your skills and abilities justice, as well as creating a References List (At least 2 Professional and 1 Personal) and a Basic Cover Letter is of the utmost importance. You are Sales now, and the product is you. Those documents are your advertising campaign.
U.S. Dept. of Labor O*Net Occupation Info Website: http://online.onetcenter.org/
The Riley Guide (Job Search, Resume & Cover Letter Assistance): http://www.rileyguide.com/
The Job Hunter’s Bible (Online/Internet Job Search Help): http://www.jobhuntersbible.com/
Microsoft Word Document Templates: Open Word, click on “Help” then “Office on the Web”
In the new window, click on “Templates”, search for whatever you are looking for and download a Template that suits your needs and your situation. You can modify the Templates as needed, but the foundation is laid.
8.) CONSIDERING A CAREER CHANGE AND/OR SCHOOLING: Before you enroll in courses or begin to pursue a totally different career, be sure to arm yourself with the knowledge to make an educated decision before finding out that the choice you have made is not a compatible one or does not pay enough for your needs.
Your local CareerLink® staff can provide you with information on Career Change Options, Wage Rates, Labor Market Information, Training Providers and options to Fund your education. These are additional resources.
Educational Opportunity Center (Career & Education Counseling): http://www.eocinc.org/ or 1-800-248-4465
PA Occupational Outlooks and Wage Information: http://www.paworkstats.state.pa.us/
America’s Career Infonet (Career Change/Occupation & Wage Outlooks): http://www.acinet.org/
9.) FUNDING YOUR EDUCATION OR TRAINING: As a Dislocated Worker, unemployed through no fault of your own, you may be eligible for funding for training through the Workforce Investment Act (WIA) which is administered through the PA CareerLink® system. Please Note: The training programs that are eligible for WIA funding, as well as the training providers must meet certain criteria, so not every school or program is eligible. To view the list of Providers and Program go to http://www.pacareerlink.state.pa.us/ , scroll to the bottom of the page and click on “Site Map”, then click on “Certified TAA/WIA Training Programs and Providers List” You can attend training at any training provider on the list that you’re willing to commute to.
Different areas in the Commonwealth and their CareerLink® offices have variations in their procedures for persons seeking funds for training. Speak with the staff at your local CareerLink® to find out what will be required of you in order to obtain funding and attend the program that you have chosen.
You can combine WIA funding with other assistance such as Pell Grants, PHEAA Grants and Student Loans for certain eligible programs found on the Training Programs and Providers List. If the program you are interested in does NOT appear on the list, help is still available to assist you in paying for the training. Speak with the Financial Aid Office at your school. For Veterans, speak with the Veterans Representative at your local CareerLink® for information on using Montgomery GI Bill, Student Loan Repayment or VA Benefits.
Educational Opportunity Center (Career & Education Counseling): http://www.eocinc.org/ or 1-800-248-4465
PA Higher Education Assistance Agency (Educational Funding Assistance): http://www.pheaa.org/
Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA): http://www.fafsa.ed.gov/
Montgomery GI Bill Benefits: http://www.gibill.va.gov/
10.) TRADE READJUSTMENT & GLOBALIZATION ACT of 2009: The Trade program helps workers who have lost their jobs as a result of foreign trade. The program offers a variety of benefits and services to eligible workers, including job training, income support, job search and relocation allowances, a tax credit to help pay the costs of health insurance, and a wage supplement to certain reemployed workers 50 years of age and older. If your company has been affected by foreign imports, offshoring or outsourcing of work, please contact the PA Dept of Labor & Industry Rapid Response Regional Representative in your area for more info.
You can read more about what types of companies and workers are eligible, as well as the requirements that must be met during the U.S. Department of Labor’s investigation on the Trade Act Homepage below.
PA Dept. of Labor & Industry Rapid: Response Regional Rep. Ron Vogel- 570-614-5994
U.S. Department of Labor Trade Act Homepage: www.doleta.gov/tradeact
PA Dept of Labor & Industry: Trade Act Coordination Services: 717-783-8050
11.) COMMUNITY AND SOCIAL SERVICES: Perhaps through donations, and certainly as a taxpayer, you have helped to fund the operations of local community services and statewide social services agencies. The programs are in place to act as a safety net to those in need. You will never know what you might be eligible for unless you seek information and apply for services. Your local United Way Office and County Assistance Office can provide you with a wealth of information of service providers and programs based on your needs.
Locate Your Local United Way Office: http://www.liveunited.org/
PA Department of Public Welfare Homepage: http://www.dpw.state.pa.us/ or Call 1-800-692-7462
Online Application for PA Social Services: http://www.compass.state.pa.us/
Heating Assistance (LIHEAP): www.dpw.state.pa.us/ServicesPrograms/LIHEAP or Call 1-866- 857- 7095
12.) SERVICES FOR INDIVIDUALS WITH DISABILITIES:
PA Office of Vocational Rehabilitation: Call Toll Free - 800-634-2060 or TTY Toll Free - 888-651-6117 (Assists individuals with disabilities locate and maintain employment and provision of related services)
Social Security Disability: www.ssa.gov/disability or Call 1-800-772-1213 or TTY 1-800-325-0778
Locate Local United Way Office: http://www.liveunited.org/