If you have been impacted by Union Pacific’s recent layoffs and pay reductions, here are a few ways you can respond.

Apply for unemployment benefits from the State of Nebraska

Even if you worked for the railroad, you are entitled to Nebraska unemployment benefits. 

Review your monthly budget

Separate your spending into two categories, “needs” and “wants”. The needs are those bare necessities you have to pay every month, like food, housing, car loans, and utilities. Once you’ve added up the total needs, you know the monthly bottom line cost you have to cover. Next, determine which “wants”, those discretionary expenses you could live without, to cut from your monthly spending. While you may not have to cut them all, start with those that aren’t used all the time. For now, could you live without Amazon Prime, Netflix, cable or satellite TV, and eating out?

What necessary expenses can be reduced?

Can you lower your bottom line cost by buying less expensive alternatives? Tightening the spending belt isn’t any fun, but shop the sales, clip coupons, buy generic instead of name brand items. Consider pooling your resources with family or neighbors, and purchase items in bulk.

Negotiate with lenders to reduce loan payments

Ask your bank if it has any deferral or suspension programs to temporarily “pause” your payments. Call your student loan servicer to request an income-based payment plan. Request a reduced interest rate from your credit cards and if they won’t work with you, consider a balance transfer to a zero interest credit card.

Prioritize your loan payments

If you are forced to choose between paying the mortgage/vehicle loans or the credit cards, make the home and car payment if you want to keep the property. This is about making the least harmful choice. If you fail to pay a loan secured by collateral like a home or car, the creditor will move to repossess that collateral. The car may disappear overnight because the repo agent took it! Usually there isn’t any collateral for credit card debt, it’s “unsecured debt”. If you fail to make any payment at all to an unsecured credit card for 3 months, a collection agency will start to harass you and eventually, sue you. But, unsecured creditors don’t have the right to take your property until they get a judgment on their lawsuit. If you are facing this difficult decision, you should review your options.

Reduce your insurance costs

Contact your health insurance agent to see if there are any less expensive alternatives to your current plan. If you are generally healthy, consider a “major medical” policy instead of a more traditional policy. Consider increasing your deductibles in exchange for reduced monthly premiums. Ask your auto insurance for a rate reduction or ask your agent to locate a less expensive policy.

Reduce wage withholdings to maximize paycheck

If your hours have been reduced or your spouse is still employed, consider pausing retirement contributions and education savings. If you always receive a tax refund higher than $1000, change your W-4 wage withholdings to send less money to Uncle Sam, which will result in a higher paycheck for you.

Contact Our Experienced Nebraska Workers' Compensation Lawyers For a Free Consultation

Steffens Law Office represents workers’ compensation victims on a contingency fee arrangement. We collect no fees if you do not. If we are able to obtain a recovery for you, we will be paid a percentage of the recovery from the award. Please contact us at Steffens Law Office, P.C. to schedule an appointment to discuss your legal options.

William V. Steffens
Nebraska Personal Injury & Bankruptcy Attorney With 34+ Years Of Experience
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