Tips for when unemployment check runs out

LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - By Holley Nees - bio | email

ANGELINA COUNTY, TX (KTRE) –  Aside from the political wrangling, real people's livelihoods are at stake. And in Angelina County, searching for a job is not easy.

The unemployment check Derrick Hickman received at the beginning of the month will be his last unless the Senate passes an extension for unemployment benefits.

"It feels like you're dying," Hickman said. "It's like every day you're drawing your last breath."

June 5 was the day 29-year-old Hickman discovered drawing unemployment was no longer an option.

"I'll never forget that day." said Hickman. "I called up there, talked to the unemployment agency and they told me that they passed a law. I can't get it. I was heartbroken."

Laid off from his job, he'd been drawing for two years. Now, he's drained his savings to pay rent, utilities and his wife's medical expenses.

"It's basically hard. It's so hard that it's kind of terrifying," said Hickman.

Financial experts say to try to have three to six months worth of emergency funds saved up and don't depend solely on drawing unemployment.

"Seek out the necessities. In other words, where's the health insurance for the family. Once, that's been satisfied, all right, what do I need to start doing to build up the nest egg again?" said Vice President Chris Moss of Advance Financial Group.

Hickman says he comes to WorkForce Solutions often to search for a job and Moss says he has the right idea: don't stop looking.

"If it means taking a job that you're not going to be with long-term, it's still income and it still provides support for your family," said Moss.

Hickman says he's been working odd jobs. With no college degree, it's tough to meet the requirements for some employers.

"I do have experience and I'm willing to work any day, every day, from sun up to sun down," said Hickman.

Moss says stay open-minded on the job hunt and focus on the future.

"Look for that position that is going to give you that opportunity to save going forward too. Again, you may not be able to right at the beginning, but if that opportunity is there at some point, you'll be able to start putting into that 401K," said Moss.

He says once you find a job, make adjustments in your budgets so you can start saving. For Hickman, no unemployment means he'll be short 126 dollars every week, but he's staying optimistic.

"Don't give up. The sun is going to shine, that's all I can say, the sun is going to shine," said Hickman.

Moss says he thinks some jobs are gone for good.

And he says, to some degree, the unemployment numbers will most likely remain higher because of technology and outsourcing.

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