Here is an 8 Step Pandemic Layoff Survival Guide for Healthcare Professionals
1. Stay calm
We get it, a pandemic layoff can be scary, but you’re going to be okay. Leave your job on the best of terms and don’t burn any bridges. Your employer is probably also having a hard time laying off a sizable chunk of you and your coworkers. People all over the country are being laid off and many businesses are going to close shop forever. Anything you can do to make sure you’re leaving on good terms is always a sound idea.
2. Determine your living expenses
Before you stop and think that the world is ending, figure out how much you need to get by. Few people create a budget but doing so can help you create a baseline, if you need another job, or if you can retire sooner rather than later.
3. Inventory your resources
Go through all your assets including savings, checking, retirement accounts, real estate, and royalties. The recently passed CARES Act (Pandemic Economic Relief legislation) lets you withdraw up to $100,000 out of any retirement plans without the usual 10% penalty if you’ve tested positive for COVID-19 or suffered any economic losses due to the virus.
4. Understand unemployment benefits
Unemployment benefits were expanded under the CARES Act. While the maximum traditional unemployment benefit is around $362 a week in Michigan, the CARES Act added $600 a week in extra benefits.
5. Learn about your health insurance options (if you’ve lost coverage)
If you’ve lost your job, you’ve probably lost your health insurance. You’re probably eligible for COBRA benefits, but if you’ve had a significant drop in income you might also qualify for a subsidized individual health insurance plan. Affordable Care Act subsidies are based on your best estimate of this year’s income, not last year or what you were earning. If you think you’re going to earn less than $48,000 for an individual or $63,000 for a household of two, you could save a significant amount on your premiums. You can sign up for subsidized coverage within 60 days of losing your employer sponsored coverage.
6. Check what your Social Security benefits would be now
You can make an account online on the Social Security Administration’s website or use their Quick Calculator to check what your social security benefits would be if you retired earlier than 65. If you think you can retire at 62 with your current assets, it might be worth signing up for your benefits early. Consider getting a Social Security maximization analysis to find the best way to take your benefits.
7. Decide if you want to go back to work
Even if your employer decides to bring you back, is it worth it to do so? If you’re in your 60’s, you’re already at a higher risk of contracting the coronavirus. If you’ve taken a look at your assets and decided you can retire early, why not do so?
If you’re not sure if you can retire early, seek a professional financial planner’s advice. They can help put all of the pieces together and it’s quite liberating to discover you don’t need to return to the stress of your job.
If you find yourself facing a pandemic layoff, just know that you are not alone. Schedule a Free 30 Minute Call with one of our Healthcare Professional Advisors. They can help answer any questions you have and guide you through your best options. Also while you are here, feel free to check out our other resources we have created for Healthcare Professionals.