Fam­ily strug­gles af­ter lay­off

The Register Citizen (Torrington, CT) - - YOUR DAILY BREAK - An­nie Lane Send your ques­tions for An­nie Lane to dear­an­nie@cre­ators.com.

Dear An­nie: Re­cently, a bomb dropped: My dad got laid off. He worked all day, ev­ery day, and my mom has had two jobs since the re­ces­sion hit just to keep us afloat. He knows ma­chines, but he doesn’t have a high school diploma. One day he’s up­set about reach­ing 60 and fear­ing heart fail­ure, and the next he’s told he has to start over. It’s just dev­as­tat­ing. He loves pro­vid­ing for his fam­ily and has been so proud to do so. Now he is a de­flated shell of a per­son who doesn’t know what to do, and I have no idea what to do that might help. Still Daddy’s Lit­tle Girl

Dear Still Daddy’s Lit­tle Girl: The love and emo­tional sup­port you of­fer your dad is price­less. He might not feel like open­ing up and be­ing vul­ner­a­ble to you, but know that just your be­ing there no doubt of­fers com­fort.

There are some prac­ti­cal steps you could take to help, too.

First, you men­tioned you’re liv­ing at home with the un­der­stand­ing that you’ll pull your own weight. If you haven’t been pay­ing rent so far, I’d en­cour­age you to start chip­ping in what you can. Try to work out a bud­get that al­lows you to do so while also re­pay­ing your stu­dent loans.

Next, re­search with your dad the em­ployee rights in your state to be sure he is, at the very least, get­ting ev­ery­thing the law re­quires. For ex­am­ple, some states man­date that laid-off em­ploy­ees re­ceive their last pay­check im­me­di­ately and that it in­clude pay­ment for all ac­crued va­ca­tion time. And in some in­stances, if an em­ployee has been re­ceiv­ing ben­e­fits through his em­ployer, he is en­ti­tled to con­tinue do­ing so for 18 months. Ac­cord­ing to le­gal re­source guide Nolo, a fed­eral law called the Con­sol­i­dated Om­nibus Bud­get Rec­on­cil­i­a­tion Act “gives em­ploy­ees (and their de­pen­dents) the right to con­tinue their health in­sur­ance cov­er­age for a pe­riod of time af­ter los­ing their jobs.” Nolo does note that em­ploy­ees are re­spon­si­ble for pay­ing the full premium cost, but at the group rate the for­mer em­ployer ne­go­ti­ated. Visit the Em­ploy­ment and Train­ing Ad­min­is­tra­tion’s web­site (https:// www.do­leta.gov) to find Rapid Re­sponse re­sources for laid-off work­ers in your state.

Lastly, though be­ing laid off is a dev­as­tat­ing ex­pe­ri­ence, re­al­iz­ing that you’re not alone can make it less so. That’s why peo­ple all over the coun­try have formed sup­port groups for those ex­pe­ri­enc­ing un­em­ploy­ment. Many are fa­cil­i­tat­ing these groups through Meetup. If there’s not a group in your area yet, you can make one.

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