Has someone in your family lost their job recently? With the unemployment rate at 8.5% in March (and with my state's rate the highest in the nation at 12%), it's likely that unemployment has affected someone you know.
Tia from Tia's Saving Cents wrote a guest post for me several months ago on how she's preparing for her own upcoming unemployment. And, as part of the most recent stimulus plan, the government is also offering a little help.
- Taxation on Unemployment Compensation - Did you know that you pay taxes on any unemployment compensation that you earn? I think many people are surprised by that, and many fail to have any taxes withheld from their payments, which sometimes causes them to owe money come tax time. However, for 2009, the first $2400 of your unemployment benefits will be excluded from taxation. So, when you file your 2009 return (in 2010), you will be able to reduce your unemployment income by $2400 (but not below $0).
- Increased Unemployment Compensation - Unemployment compensation is also being increased by $25/week and the amount of time that you can draw unemployment is being extended.
- COBRA - When you leave your employer, they must offer you and your family COBRA for your medical insurance (a continuation of your coverage). However, it is often very expensive, because you are now paying not only your portion of the premiums, but also what your employer pays, which is usually a much higher percentage than what the you, the employee, pays. For most people, the cost is just too expensive to pay during a time of unemployment. As part of the stimulus plan, the government is offering a federal subsidy of 65% of your monthly COBRA payments for 9 months as long as you were involuntarily terminated between 9/1/08 and 12/31/09. This coverage is phased out for higher income taxpayers. Your employer should notify you if you are eligible, so ask them if you are unsure about it.
- Access to free Visits to the Take Care Clinic at select Walgreens - Walgreens is offering free healthcare visits to their patients and families who have recently lost their jobs and are uninsured. For more details, click here.
Have you been affected by unemployment? If so, did you know about these changes to the law and taken advantage of them? Do you know of any other companies offering specials for the unemployed? For more frugal tips, please visit Life as Mom.
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