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Who Are Dislocated Workers and What Do You Do if You Are One

The number of dislocated workers in the United States has fluctuated over the past three years but has always had the potential to decline. U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported a total of 6.3 million displaced workers from 2017-2019, which was a .9 percent reduction from 2015-2017. Unemployment numbers spiked in April of 2020 and then improved over the rest of the year because of all the supportive resources for displaced individuals.  

The following piece contains information about dislocated workers and how people end up with the status.  It also contains information on what to do if you find that you are currently a dislocated worker. Take the information and use it to rebuild your life after an employment crisis.

What Is a Dislocated Worker?

The term “dislocated worker” refers to a worker who has been separated from his or her job because of uncontrollable circumstances. It does not apply to workers who were terminated because of absenteeism, misconduct, or any other fault-based reason. 

Dislocated workers are usually the victims of a permanent or temporary layoff. These persons have lost the ability to work because their places of employment either closed, moved, or lost the ability to support the number of workers they had. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics also defines dislocated workers as being 20 years old or older.  

Who Qualifies as a Dislocated Worker?

To qualify for dislocated workers’ benefits, a worker must meet one of five qualifications for certification. At that point, such workers will be able to take advantage of the many compensatory and rehabilitative programs available for dislocated people. 

One qualification for dislocation is that the worker has to be terminated from employment or laid off. The individual must have an official letter of termination or layoff from the employer. Furthermore, the worker must be unlikely to return to the job or place of employment. 

The second qualification is that the worker must be separated from employment because of a substantial layoff or job closure. In other words, the employer eliminated many job positions, closed one of its wings, or announced that it would shut down altogether. 

Self-employed individuals must prove that they have lost their jobs due to economic deterioration. Workers such as farmers, fisherman, ranchers, writers, and ride-share providers may qualify as dislocated individuals. 

The dislocated status may also apply to homemakers. Homemakers are individuals who dedicate their lives to maintaining the home and caring for other individuals. In most cases, the homemaker takes care of children or a sick or elderly relative. 

Two situations can qualify a homemaker as dislocated. The first situation is if the homemaker loses the financial support of a person who was in his or her care. The second situation is when a homemaker loses support because of a military spouse’s deployment. 

Individuals may also qualify as dislocated if they lose employment because of a military spouse’s call to relocate, as well. Such people can also qualify as dislocated if the military spouse has experienced unemployment. Other situations may qualify as a reasonable classification of a person as a dislocated person. 

How Workers Become Dislocated

Many factors can cause a worker to become dislocated. One factor is economic decline. Sometimes, the economy changes, and consumers don’t perform enough to support a certain business.

An example of an economy-related decline is the overall decrease of consumers visiting brick and mortar stores. A small business may suffer so much from the impact that they have no choice but to downsize.

Catastrophe can also cause a business to shut down and dislocate many of its workers. A current example of such catastrophe is the pandemic. Many businesses had to shut down altogether or close down departments because of the risks. Other companies eliminated certain job positions and left many people without jobs. 

Sometimes companies go bankrupt and have to change their structure or move. That type of change can also cause a business to dislocated many of its workers. 

Dislocation of self-employed individuals is usually due to drastic changes within the environment or economy. A farmer, for example, could suffer because of an overall decline in food consumption. A farmer may also lose work because of climate changes that affect crop growth. 

There could be many reasons that a homemaker becomes displaced. The family member that he or she cares for could recover from an illness and no longer need help. The individual could also mature and move out of the home, which might leave the homemaker with no support. 

In the case of a military worker’s homemaker spouse, governmental decisions are likely the cause for dislocation. The military decides when to deploy its members and call them to duty. Therefore, the homemaker’s status depends on the status of military operations. 

Help is available for dislocated people, no matter what reason exists for their current situation. If you find yourself dislocated, please know that opportunities and resources are available to help you get back on your feet. You never have to feel alone or downhearted because your situation had recently changed. 

What to Do if You’re a Dislocated Worker

If you are a dislocated worker, it can be difficult knowing what to do to get your life back on track. You’re probably suffering financial strain as well as emotional and mental fatigue. The following are some of the steps you can take to get help for yourself and recover from your current state:

1. Apply for Unemployment Benefits

The first thing you can do for yourself as a dislocated individual is to apply for unemployment benefits. Unemployment is a program that will provide you with a percentage of your usual pay if you qualify. You’ll also have access to a wealth of additional benefits. 

In most cases, you can apply for unemployment benefits using an online application. The application is straightforward and asks for information about your work history. You’ll need to answer a question about how you became unemployed to have the organization consider your request. 

Unemployment benefits go by quarters. To qualify, you must meet the requirements in terms of money you’ve earned. Each state has a different minimum and maximum unemployment benefit amount and term. 

Unemployment benefits are currently extended and raised because of COVID-19. If you qualify, you may be eligible to receive an additional supplemental payment of $300 each week until the government ends the special benefit. 

You may also be able to collect unemployment benefits for an additional 11 weeks. This extension may come to you as part of the government’s effort to take care of its citizens. You can find out more information by visiting the unemployment website in your state. 

2. Apply for Medical Assistance

As a dislocated person, you are probably wondering how you can continue your health benefits. Medical coverage is often a huge part of a worker’s benefit package. Fortunately, you have several options when it comes to continuing your medical coverage to keep yourself healthy. 

COBRA continuation is one option for you. The program will allow you to continue receiving your health coverage after you’ve been dislocated from your job. The downside is that you will have to pay the full premium for the health coverage. 

Many people don’t take advantage of COBRA continuation because of the high premium. They lose their employer’s contribution to the health plan, which often leaves an unfavorable premium amount. Therefore, many workers go uncovered because they can’t afford the premium because of the lack of work. 

Medicaid is another option you may consider trying. Medicaid will provide health coverage to qualified individuals. You must meet financial requirements and other criteria to qualify for Medicaid. The goods news is that you’re likely to qualify if your income is low because of unemployment. 

You may also qualify for health benefits under the Affordable Care Act. The act is still in effect, and it can connect you to a wealth of healthcare plans that you’ll have an easier time paying for. 

The good news about the Affordable Care Act is that your job loss will qualify you for enrollment. You won’t have to wait for annual enrollment to come around in October or November to complete an application. You can visit the government’s site and found out more information on obtaining medical coverage as a dislocated employee today. 

3. Sign up for Career Counseling

Career counseling is something else you might want to consider in your journey to recovery after dislocation. Career counseling is available through the Department of Labor and other organizations. You will not have to pay for services if you use the counseling offered by the Department of Labor. 

Career counseling is a comprehensive program that will help you find the most suitable jobs for yourself. You’ll work with a counselor who will conduct a series of tests and assessments. This individual will also talk to you about your interests and hobbies and any other information that can help to pinpoint the best jobs for you to seek. 

You might find that the long-term career that you’ve been dislocated from wasn’t the right fit for you. Perhaps you’ll discover an entirely new employment path. Your career counselor can help you get the services you need to ensure that you can succeed in such a position.  

4. Get New Career Job Training

One of the perks of being a dislocated employee is that you have access to career training. The Department of Labor has branches such as the Employment and Training Administration and the American job Center that you can utilize to receive training in a new field. 

You may be able to have all of your education paid for so that you can embark on a new career journey. You must meet all requirements and satisfy any obligations that the Department of Labor requires of you to qualify. The training will most likely earn you a certificate or degree that will make it easier for you to obtain employment in a new field. 

5. Start Saving for the Future

It’s wise to start saving for your future if you’ve become dislocated from your job. You must make smart moves with the money you receive from your unemployment benefits. It might be time for you to think about developing a short-term savings plan or setting up an account for your retirement. 

The savings plan will help you to create a security blanket for future occurrences of dislocation or unemployment. You can start saving at any time and come up with a biweekly figure that will be comfortable for you to save. Open a savings account that will pay you interest on the money you save and put it away immediately upon receiving your funds. 

You may also want to think about investing your money once you accumulate enough to put in the effort. You can contact an investment specialist to find out the best way to make your money work for your future. Some available options are stocks, bonds, and foreign exchange.

You could start small by using an app like Acorns or Stash to get your feet wet in the investment world. Those two apps will allow you to invest small amounts into various businesses and then watch how your funds move over time. There is virtually no risk because you can invest as little as $5 to start.  

Famous Quotes About Jobs and Work

“Self-belief and hard work will always earn you success.”  ― Virat Kohli

“Work is the key to success, and hard work can help you accomplish anything.” ― Vince Lombardi

“Let us realize that: the privilege to work is a gift, the power to work is a blessing, the love of work is success!” ― David O. McKay

Take Charge of Your Dislocated Status Today

You don’t have to feel hopeless as a dislocated worker. As you can see, many opportunities are available for you to get back on your feet. Take a few of the suggestions we mentioned today and start paving your way to financial recovery and building a brighter future. 

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