If you’re looking for layoff benefits, it might be because you’ve recently been affected by the many rounds of layoffs and right now you’re panicking. Whether you’ve been sent off with a generous severance package, or none at all, you’re probably willing to do anything to get back within your comfort zone.
As an seasoned HR professional, I wanted to share a handful of layoff benefits that could help you maintain your current lifestyle. This will allow you to shift your focus towards re-entering the workforce…when you’re ready!
We’ll be covering US-based layoff benefits including: unemployment, health insurance, mortgage/rent assistance, utility assistance, food, childcare, and fun things for your kids like summer camps, swimming lessons, and annual passes to points of interest.
Note: the majority of the layoff benefits links I will be including are for my home state, but I recommend googling the topic we’re covering + your state to find state-specific benefits!
One of the first valuable layoff benefits we’ll cover is unemployment.
If you didn’t receive any type of severance package after being laid off and you’ve already received your last paycheck, you can go immediately to this step.
If you did receive a severance package, you’ll want to revisit this step once you no longer have any income from your former company.
Keep in mind, there is a one week waiting period once your application is approved. So if your last day of pay is Friday, December 2, 2022 and your first business day without any income is Monday, December 5, 2022, the first business day you will be eligible for unemployment benefits is Monday, December 12, 2022.
You’ll create an account and it will ask for a LOT of information about you and your former employer. Upon completion, you should receive a confirmation email with instructions. You’ll want to make a note of your username and password because any updates will be communicated through the system; not through your personal email.
If your application is approved, you will receive weekly benefits, based upon how much you were earning when you were employed as well as the state in which you reside. Each state has their own maximum amount of weeks you can receive these benefits, so make sure you’re aware of that number for planning purposes. Hint: that information is provided in the portal once you become eligible for benefits.
Now in order to continue to receive weekly benefits you need to ‘claim’ your benefits, which simply means every week you need to answer a questionnaire stating that you are actively looking for employment, provide proof that you are looking for employment for that particular week in question, and state that you are currently not working for the particular week in question.
If you don’t complete the questionnaire, you won’t be paid for that week, so this is a very important task!
Be aware, that this in no way will come close to replacing your lost income. For example, the maximum weekly benefit for Mississippi is $235 and the maximum weekly benefit for Minnesota is $857. Nevertheless, it is one of the most valuable layoff benefits available.
2. Health Insurance
Another one of our most valuable layoff benefits is free health insurance. Check to see when your health insurance with your former employer ends because you’ll want to apply when your health insurance is about to end.
With Medicaid, you and your children will receive health care coverage, allowing you to see your doctor, dentist, and therapist for free! It even covers ER visits and lab work.
What you’ll want to do is find out from your existing family doctor, pediatrician, dentist, orthodontist, and therapist is if they accept Medicaid. Then, find out which plan provider they accept. You’ll want that information when you select your plan, so you can keep your existing health care team.
You might get randomly assigned to a plan provider so your health care coverage doesn’t get interrupted, but you’ll have 30 days to change it to the plan of your choice.
If you do have to change providers because your medical team doesn’t accept Medicaid, you should receive information which highlights the key features each plan offers.
Some plans offer benefits like doula services for expecting moms, home delivered meals, housing assistance, swimming lessons for kids, tutoring for kids, acupuncture, art therapy, equine therapy, hypoallergenic carpet cleanings, massage therapy, and chiropractic services.
There are a number of eligibility factors which could qualify you, such as having a child 18 years or younger; being pregnant, being 65 or older, and receiving no income or low income (which would be the case if you were on unemployment).
Again, you’ll want to apply but this time you’ll go to your state’s Medicaid website. For example, this
The turnaround time for reviewing and processing your application should be quick because they want to make sure you have access to healthcare.
3. Food-Part 1
The next one of our layoff benefits allows you to become automatically eligible if you are pregnant and/or have young children AND you’re on Medicaid. It’s called WIC (Women, Infant, Children).
It allows you to get get certain types of foods for free at grocery stores. The quantity you are allotted per month has to do with the number of eligible household members. For example, if you have a baby, you’ll be eligible for formula. Once they start eating solids, they’ll be eligible for dairy, grains, fruits and vegetables.
You have to really pay attention when shopping. This program is very specific in the type of food you purchase and the size of the container. For example, peanut butter has to be in an 16 oz or 18 oz jar, cannot be reduced fat or natural, and cannot have any added sweeteners like honey or chocolate. Some grocery stores don’t sell those sizes, so it might take you a longer time to shop in the beginning.
Another added benefit of the program is you get access to a dietician. This becomes extremely helpful if you’ve got a toddler who is a picky eater and you need guidance on how to offer nutritious food choices.
4. Food-Part 2
If you don’t have young children under 5 and/or you’re not pregnant, the benefit we just covered may not have been of any use to you.
However, there are more layoff benefits to explore. This next one is also a food benefit and you can be eligible for it even if you quality for WIC. It’s called SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program).
It allows you to buy anything you want from a grocery store (exceptions: alcohol and tobacco products), as long as you don’t exceed the monthly budget allotted to you.
For example, for a family of 4 in Florida, the maximum monthly benefit they would receive is $835 and in Minnesota that number increases to $939. That’s a lot of groceries!
You can choose whatever brand, quantity, and type of food you like; you just need to stay in budget. So if you are accustomed to only eating organic, you may still be able to maintain your lifestyle.
One of the perks that comes with SNAP is that you can use it to order your groceries online.
Every few months you’ll be sent a questionnaire to find out if your income and expenses has changed, and the amount allotted to you will change accordingly.
Don’t be shy; it’s to your advantage to list all of your expenses. You’ll be eligible for more money by doing so.
5. Housing/Utility Assistance-Part 1
When you applied for unemployment, you might have been asked if you needed assistance in other areas: housing/utilities, etc. It seems like an innocent enough question, but there are additional layoff benefits you may be eligible for!
If you don’t recall this question, google ‘homeowner assistance + your state’ to find the appropriate website. It may look like this
Based on your income, you might be eligible to receive assistance in paying your utility bills (electric, water, gas), internet, mortgage, and HOA.
You don’t have to be delinquent in order to receive assistance, so apply right away since it might take months for you to be approved. This is one of those layoff benefits you want to stay on top of!
6. Housing/Utility Assistance-Part 2
The layoff benefits continue. If you are a homeowner, somewhere on your mortgage statement you should find a section about financial hardship. Call the number and have an exploratory conversation to see what your options are.
The same can be said for your utility bills. There is usually a ‘Financial Assistance’ section on your bill.
Who would have thought that layoff benefits could extend to phone and internet? Certain internet/phone providers like AT&T, Spectrum, Verizon, CenturyLink, and more, offer free or discounted services for people who are on SNAP, Medicaid or WIC. Click here to apply
If you have Amazon Prime, you can also get a 50% off discount on Prime membership.
7. Childcare Assistance
Sometimes a layoff prompts us to level up. One of the ways we can do that is to go back to school and take a few classes. There are layoff benefits available for these situations as well.
For example, there is a childcare benefit for parents who have decided to go back to school or have found a part-time job.
The result is daycare tuition that is significantly reduced. You might be pleasantly surprised to find out that some of your favorite local daycare centers are part of the program.
To find more information about layoff benefits pertaining to childcare, look for the webpage associated with your home state. It may look something like this
8. Family Fun
If you’ve just been laid off, one of the last things you may be thinking of is family fun. With the holidays around the corner, it might be nice to do something to keep the smiles on your children’s faces.
Here is another one of the valuable layoff benefits: discounted admission. Some children’s museums and aquariums across the country offer discounted day passes ($3/pp) and annual passes ($25/family) for families on WIC or SNAP. This information can be hard to find on their webpage, so it’s best to call and ask. You can also go here to find a list of museums who participate.
If you have a Bank of America or Merrill Lynch account, take advantage of the Museum’s on Us program. It allows account holders to visit select museums, aquariums, and botanical gardens for free the first weekend of every month.
Another one of our layoff benefits has to do with kids camp. Though Summer is a long way away, a lot of camps start opening registration in March/April. If you’ve got school aged children, reach out to your City’s Youth Programs Department and find out if they offer Spring Break/Summer camp for kids on government assistance. You might be able to get your kids enrolled for a week of camp for $40 or less!
Final Thoughts on Layoff Benefits for Moms
Layoff benefits may be the last thing on your mind when you part ways with the company, but it’s important to know what’s out there, when you’re ready.
Some of these layoff benefits can help you keep a roof over your head and food in your belly. They allow you to receive no-cost medical care for you and your family. But most of all, they relieve a little bit of stress in a highly stressful situation. Best of luck in your journey!