It goes without saying that an unemployment rate that is stuck at 9.1%, particularly in instances where unemployment has been a long-term problem for some, is leading to continued financial problems for various consumers, and these issues have bled into numerous areas of the lives of these long-term unemployed men and women. Areas such as health care, the ability to purchase basic necessities, and even honor certain debt obligations like a home loan have been troublesome for unemployed individuals, especially when unemployment has been a long-term problem.
Furthermore, many reports indicate that unemployment is simply not the only issue which must be overcome but changes in job opportunities have led to numerous individuals being in a situation where they are underemployed, meaning they have seen a drastic reduction in their income, which has also led to problems when it comes to certain financial obligations. However, in major areas of financial stress, like honoring certain debt payments, unemployed individuals are seeing assistance programs still made available, like unemployment forbearance programs that may help homeowners avoid the loss of their home.
Yet, in areas like health insurance some of these unemployed individuals may be relying on a spouse, some may still qualify for COBRA health insurance benefits, while others are either trying to stay afloat with short-term health insurance plans or are simply taking a risk in going on without any coverage at the present time. Obviously, these financial issues are complex and an individual problem that many consumers have, but officials are urging those who are unemployed to take advantage of any opportunities that may help them in their financial life while they are unemployed.
One example is contacting creditors to ask for forbearance on credit cards, loans, or other debt obligations, speaking with mortgage servicers to inquire about unemployment assistance that may be available from federal or state programs, and even looking into the affordability of some short-term health insurance options, as there may be some who can qualify for coverage that, while it may not be comprehensive, will protect these consumers against excessive amount of medical debt if treatment is needed.
Obviously, being able to save in one area or more could help consumers meet costs in other areas as well, like those who are able to get more affordable payments on debts, eliminate certain payments like their mortgage through programs such as the federal Home Affordable Unemployment Program, or even state initiatives that may help homeowners with their mortgage payment, and this could free up some funding that could be used as either emergency savings, that could go towards health insurance plans, or maybe used to honor other debts as well.
While the route that unemployed consumers have taken when it comes to combating financial distress is often different, and will obviously be a personal choice that a consumer must make, advisers are pointing out that help is still available for certain unemployed individuals when it comes to lessening financial burdens during a time where long-term unemployment could potentially be hindering certain consumers and causing further problems.