Out of work checklist – Things to do if you lose your job

Losing your job is never easy…

However, when approached with the right attitude (hint: don’t panic), and a clear head, there are some simple steps along the way that can help you back on your feet.

The Money Advice Service has a checklist of the things you should do if you lose your job, including claiming benefits and entitlements and keeping track of your money if you don’t have an income coming in.

Work out your redundancy pay

If you’ve been made redundant, you will probably be entitled to redundancy pay.

The Money Advice Service has a redundancy pay calculator, which you can use to get a personalised plan of what you’re likely to receive in statutory redundancy pay. Depending on the contract you signed with your company, you may even be able to get a little more.

You can find the tool at the bottom of this article.

Talk to your landlord or mortgage provider

One of the most important things to be sure of if you experience job loss is that your home is safe. For this reason, you should always talk to your landlord or mortgage provider as soon as possible.

Your mortgage lender may also be able to make arrangements to extend your mortgage term, or reduce your monthly payments.

You never know until you ask, and it’s always better to take action quickly if you can.

Claim all benefits and entitlements

Losing your job may leave gaps in your National Insurance record, however you could be credited with contributions provided you are in receipt of certain benefits.  This will help maximise your basic state pension, if you’re out of or unable to work.

Contact your local Jobcentre Plus or Jobs and Benefits Office. You can start your claim over the phone or online.

Alternatively, you may need to claim Universal Credit.

You can get tax credits if you have children, or if your partner is still working, and your total household income is below a certain amount. If you’ve already been getting them, tell the Tax Credits Helpline about your job loss.

Depending on your income and savings, Housing Benefit could help pay for some or all of your rent or mortgage arrears while you get back on your feet. Help with council tax reductions are also available.

For further information on these, or any other benefits you may be entitled to, visit the Money Advice Service’s guide on benefits and tax credits when you lose your job.

You may have heard of Universal Credit, which is replacing Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance (and some other benefits and tax credits). Universal Credit is being introduced in stages. Most people won’t be affected to start with.

Essentially, Universal Credit is a single monthly payment, which includes a standard allowance, plus other elements – such as payments for housing or children.

At the moment, Universal Credit mainly affects newly unemployed people in specific areas of the country.

Find out more with the Money Advice Service’s guide to Universal Credit.

Talk to a debt advisor

If you feel your debts are spiralling out of control, you don’t have to face it alone. Talking to a debt advisor is free and confidential. Find local help using the Money Advice Service debt advice locator tool.

Review your budget

If your income has dropped, it is likely you will have to review your budget and spending to keep costs down. Some people are put off by the idea of budgeting, but it is simpler than it sounds – it’s just a list of your incomings and outgoings, to help you work out where you can cut back.

The Money Advice Service budget planner will assist you in estimating your outgoings, and let you know how much is left over after all your major bills come out.

Start applying for jobs and get advice about your CV

Once you know where you’re at with your money, start thinking about what you’re going to do next. If it’s been a while since you were looking for a job, you may also need to take the time to brush up on your CV and interview skills.

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