As much as 18% of the American workforce has lost their jobs thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic. A lot of businesses are going out of business because of social distancing measures and people are left wondering whether there will be jobs to go back to after the pandemic is over. What do you do if you’ve been furloughed or laid off as a result of the pandemic?

Layoffs and furloughs are very different because one is a permanent separation with the possibility of being recalled while the other is a temporary unpaid leave while benefits remain intact. Fortunately, both cases qualify you for unemployment benefits in most cases. Even if you lose hours or you have multiple jobs and lose one of them you may qualify for partial unemployment benefits.

Unemployment benefits have also been expanded to cover atypical situations because of the pandemic, as well. People who are unable to work because they have children or medically fragile family members at home qualify for benefits now, as do people who quit their jobs for medical reasons or other reasons related to the pandemic. Even if you were scheduled to start and were unable to do so, you may qualify for unemployment benefits under the new rules.

You’ll need to apply for benefits as soon as you are affected, as it takes a long time to receive your first payment. Some states are assigning certain days to people alphabetically by last name in order to prevent overtaxing the system, while still other places still require in-person filing. Check with the state in which you work for rules about how to file.

It may be tempting to use your stimulus check to splurge on something nice to keep you occupied while you are at home, but use that money to pay for absolute necessities. There’s no way of knowing how long this financial situation will last, and it’s better to plan for the worst in this case.

Learn more about how to survive a layoff or furlough from the infographic below.

Infographic Source: Finivi