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Losing your job is one of the most stressful situations you can be in and if you have been in the unfortunate position that you have lost your job it is essential that you make a few set moves to ensure you are protecting yourself after a job loss.

Have you recently lost your job? Here are five money moves to make immediately after a job loss.

1. Apply for unemployment compensation.

If you are in a position where you have lost your job, the first step is to alert your state unemployment insurance office to find out how you can claim and even qualify for benefits. You might think you will only be out of work for a week or two, but what if you find it difficult to get a job or there are no jobs available? How will you pay your bills and where will you turn if you need money for housing and living expenses? This should be your first step after losing your job.

2. Ask about health insurance.

When you lose your job you will lose your health benefits and you need to find a way to maintain coverage while you search for a new role. There are federal programs available that you could be eligible for that continue to cover your health coverage after you lose your job and in between finding a new one to find out if you are eligible.

3. Cut your living expenses.

Now that you have no job you need to tighten the belt a little and cut back on your living expenses so create a spreadsheet and find out what are not essentials and put these costs on hold until further notice. This might include PayTV, memberships, magazine subscriptions, and any other expenses that you might incur including hair treatments, nail parlor and more.

4. Consider your 401(k) options.

Take advantage of your retirement plan that was in place by your past employer and see what options are in place in the event of being laid off. Can you cash in your retirement fund and use the money to pay off debt and get ahead while you find new employment or is this too costly. Ask questions nd speak with your IRA representative so you get a clearer understanding of your options.

5. Defer payments to creditors.

Without a job, it’s difficult to pay for any bills or credit debts that are coming into your home so you need to contact the people you regularly pay and let them know you have been paid off and might need some extensions to your payments. Don’t bury your head in the sand, by being upfront that will ensure your creditors don’t add any extra fees or expenses onto the overdue accounts.

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