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What to do When You Lose Your Job

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I’ve been attending a Job Transition group since I got the news of my impending lay off.  It’s been great to connect with like minded people (faith based group) who are going or who have gone through similar situations.  This morning the talk to turned to me with questions of healthcare now, unemployment benefits and general “what to do when you lose your job” tasks.

It’s been a LONG time since I was here…2006 to be exact.  Then it was pretty cut and dried.  I applied for unemployment benefits that lasted 4-6 months, paid for COBRA medical coverage for up to 18 months to continue our medical benefits and started a job hunt with weekly reporting to the Employment Commission to continue to receive my unemployment payments.

Now I’m not leaving corporate, I’m leaving contract work so no unemployment as far as I know, no COBRA and I had three weeks notice rather than the single day I had last time.  Very different and not so cut and dried.

So I’m hear asking for your collective wisdom…what do you do now when you lose a job?  Here’s what the Job Transition group advised me this morning….

  1. Apply for unemployment…let them tell me if I’m eligible or not.  At least it might result in some temporary income.
  2. With the new Obamacare, I cannot let my medical insurance lapse or I will face penalty, so I have to do something about that.  And without steady income, well that could be problematic.
  3. There  are lots of alternative resources out there, research them now, apply for help now, just in case, so that I don’t get to the point where I’m panicking and reach the point of no return with certain financial matters…suggestions are United Way (strict guidelines for help that I probably wouldn’t meet at this point,) local churches are not governed by strict regulations, grants for single moms, etc.

So here I am asking for your best advice, what would you do in my shoes?  What steps do I take now?


Knee Deep in It – Tax Season

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I’d been so proud of myself for getting posts done ahead of time and here I am already falling off that wagon!  But I do have a good excuse…

So I haven’t filed 2013 or 2014 taxes yet.  Long story short, it all leads back to discussions early on last year with my dad regarding the house, so I am not going to get into that anymore.  But I was comfortable not filing as I had pre-paid my taxes correctly AND because the twins adoption was finalized and they were a special needs adoption, I had a large tax credit coming that can be carried over for up to 5 years.

With that in mind, I have ALWAYS filed my own taxes.  But with the possibility of needing to finance a home in the coming years and the new tax credit which I don’t have any experience with, I decided I might need to hire someone this year to do it for me and make sure I covered those bases properly.  (Since I am self-employed, banks look at my last two-three years tax returns for financing rather than current year pay.)  So I started calling around trying to find someone who was familiar with the Adoption Tax Credit (<=link to IRS site regarding credit if you are interested.)

Almost no one had any experience with the tax credit, and the cheapest I could find was $350 per year…for a total of $700 just to fill out some forms (which I have already compiled all the numbers for) and get the correct form done for the tax credit.  I spent a couple of weeks rolling that number around in my head.  And then started digging into the tax credit.

And yep, I’m back to doing my taxes myself.  I’ve already done all the compiling everything thanks to my organization kick I’ve been on this year.  I figured at $25 per hour, I could essentially give myself 28 hours of research time to figure out the new tax stuff and not have to pay anyone else the $700.  So that’s where I am this week…knee deep in tax code.  And the scary thing is, that I am actually enjoying it.

I did break down and buy TurboTax’s 2013 version to kind of guide me, but from what I can tell, even they don’t handle the tax credit properly.  So I’m doing this by hand…downloading the proper forms from the IRS.gov website and filling them in.  It’s been tedious, but I’ve learned ALOT.  Hopefully, I will wrap this up this week.  And then…I get to help the twins file their taxes.  What a cake walk next to this!