NYSUT Services: From Health to Finances

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Free legal help

The law firm of Feldman, Kramer & Monaco, P.C., provider of the trust-endorsed Legal Service Plan, will waive the plan’s annual fee for members laid off at the end of the current school year.

More information about plan benefits can be found at http://www.memberbenefits.nysut.org/.

Contact Member Benefits for information on eligibility for this offer.

To access the free plan, laid-off members should call Member Benefits at 800-626-8101 to verify that their local has reported their layoff status.

Free support from NYSUT Social Services

When you are facing layoff, the flood of information and number of items on your "to do" list can seem daunting. Your local union is the best place to start for help in sorting out specifics.

Your statewide union, New York State United Teachers, offers a free support service for these tough times and beyond. NYSUT Social Services - www.nysut.org/socialservices - is here to help those whose worlds have changed because of job loss.

"Just because you're laid off does not exclude you from NYSUT Social Services," said Ani Shahinian, social services specialist. "If you're laid off, if you're going to suffer financially or emotionally, we can talk and explore options. It is kind of a lifeline through a tough time."

NYSUT Social Services staff has a broad scope of knowledge and extensive referral resources, whether it is for mental health care or providing the criteria needed to apply for food stamps. Professionals provide supportive phone consultation, followed up by working with agencies and providers in members' communities to provide needed services.

Staff will help callers solve problems and prioritize concerns.

Losing a job can create its own myriad of stressors, and families or individuals may already be facing other concerns. NYSUT Social Services can help with:

  • exploring health insurance options
  • advocacy in securing community services;
  • finding support groups or mental health services;
  • locating services for persons with disabilities;
  • arranging assistance for victims of abuse;
  • connecting with services for the aging; and
  • finding help for marital and relationship problems or child-rearing concerns.

All contacts and resulting services from NYSUT Social Services are completely confidential.

Contact NYSUT Social Services Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at: 800-342-9810, ext. 6206 or e-mail socsvcs@nysutmail.org.

Employee Assistance Programs

Many employers have Employee Assistance Programs that offer counseling.

If you are unsure of your employers' participation you can call NYSUT Social Services.

Financial Counseling

If you need assistance with financial counseling, bankruptcy and debt repayment you can contact the NYSUT Member Benefits Trust endorsed program:

CCCS is a non-profit community service organization that provides free and confidential counseling and will refer you to an accredited affiliate in your area if additional services are required.

Finance Tip: Track your expenses

A worksheet can help you see where you spend money and where you can save. Include fixed expenses such as mortgage or rent, child support, loans and credit card payments, and variable monthly expenses such as food, gas, repairs, recreation, utilities and child care. Consider future expenses, such as taxes, as well.

  • List all income, including savings, severance pay, union strike assistance, unemployment, accrued vacation pay and pension fund refunds.
  • List assets. These can include cash value of insurance policies, prepaid burial or funeral policies, home equity and resale value of items such as motor vehicles, boats and trailers.
  • Set priorities for expenses. Mortgage or rent will head this list, followed by utilities, health insurance, car payments and child support. The list will help you pay first things first.
  • Make a list of creditors. Include the name, address and contact person of all creditors, along with account numbers.
  • List the total amount owed, a payment schedule and amount, and interest rates.
  • Keep creditors informed. If you need to negotiate a lower monthly payment, work with creditors before you get behind. Possibilities include delaying, reducing or refinancing payments while you are out of work. Pay regularly to keep from being turned over to a collection agency.
  • Do not ignore your mail
  • Stop using credit cards
  • Reduce household spending. Plan less expensive meals; use coupons; go to food co-ops, where being a member can reduce costs; visit farmers' markets.
  • Eliminate extra features in your home equipment, such as call waiting on the telephone, or additional cable.
  • Discontinue cell phones
  • Use the library for Internet service

Finance Tip: Going green can save green

Taking positive actions can make you realize you have control over some aspects of your financial situation even while unemployed. There are many ways to save money right around your home. Satisfaction can also come from making a more positive impact on the environment while reducing your spending.

  • Turn off lights, TV and appliances when not in use.
  • Unplug appliances.
  • Lower the thermostat on both the hot water heater and furnace.
  • Combine car trips.
  • Use public transportation.
  • Wash only full loads; hang clothes to dry.
  • Do not let water run while brushing teeth or using the sink.
  • Do your own lawn care. Use all-natural products instead of more expensive, chemical applications.
  • Have an energy audit done of your home.
  • The first step to reorganizing life without a job is to create a financial action plan:
  • Prepare a complete household budget
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