The New Year is a time filled with hope and resolutions to make the upcoming year better than the last. Unfortunately, for about 86,900 Pennsylvania residents, the New Year started with a loss of unemployment benefits.
The Pennsylvania unemployment compensation system allows qualifying individuals to receive unemployment benefits for 26 weeks. Due to the bad economy and high unemployment rates, the federal government had been offering an additional 99 weeks of unemployment benefits, which allowed people to collect unemployment benefits for a total of almost 2 ½ years.
As of January 1, 2014, the federal unemployment extension program ended, which is what caused 86,900 Pennsylvanians to suddenly lose their benefits. More than 6,000 of those people were from Allegheny County. Adding to the woes of the Allegheny County unemployed is the fact that the county lost 15,000 jobs from July to October, 2013.
If you are unemployed, even if you are still receiving unemployment benefits, one of your New Year’s resolutions should be to take a closer look at your financial situation. While you can’t control whether you get a job in the new year, you do have control over your expenses. Shop around for things like car insurance, cell phone plans and cable service. Consider cutting back on services you don’t need, like premium cable channels or satellite radio. Start shopping at grocery stores that require you to bag your own groceries. Any of these stores will offer big savings versus the full-service grocery stores.
Another big expense you can get under control is your credit card payments. Credit card payments can cost hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars. The worst part is that almost all of the money you pay toward your credit cards is just paying the interest, meaning that you are making little progress in paying off the balances. Instead of throwing your money away on interest every month, give Steidl & Steinberg a call. We can review your options to help get your debt under control. A Chapter 7 bankruptcy, which eliminates all of your credit card debt, might be the way for you to go. Another option is a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, which would make your credit card payments more affordable. Plus, all of the money you pay would go toward paying the debt down instead of wasting it on interest.
This New Year, resolve to get your finances under control, especially your debts. This will allow you to use your unemployment compensation for the most important things, like housing costs, medical expenses and food. If you have already lost your unemployment compensation you must act fast to preserve they money that you have saved and not waste it on debt repayment. Give Steidl & Steinberg a call in order to set yourself on the right financial track in 2014.