The Affects of Job Loss on Your Credit Score 

How to handle credit and bill payment while you are in between jobs:
  • Examine your finances
  • Determine your monthly expenses 
  • What is basic amount of survival money you need to meet your monthly payment obligations? 
Once you have determined your monthly budget, make a decision on what you have left over to spend on discretionary expenses. Divide that number into the total monthly amount to determine your weekly cash flow.

  • Look for hidden expenses which may be eliminated for the time being. 
  • Think about all of your available lines of credit, such as the equity you have in your home and your savings. 
  • Your 5 priorities should be rent/mortgage, utility bills, food, insurance, and medicine.
  • Call your creditors and explain your financial situation; creditors are more likely to be reasonable discussing payment options than if you wait until you have missed a payment. 
  • Don't close your accounts and cut up your credit cards; use them sparingly. Unemployment will compromise your ability to get a line of credit. if you have an overdraft guarantee from your bank for $4,000, but only $200 in your account, keep the account open but abstain from using it. It takes time for a bank to develop trust in account holders; avoid tarnishing your relationship with your banking institution.
  • Create a job search plan of action. Be strategic not only in your finances but in your search for a job as well. 
  • Look for networking opportunities everywhere. 
Keep your focus on the things you can control, and stay positive and upbeat. Your new job is finding a NEW job and keeping any debt, you may have, out of the hands of collection agencies.

Protect Your Credit Score

Taking steps to protect your credit score while you are unemployed will make the financial recovery process easier if you suffer a setback.
  • Keep track of your credit score and know what it is. You are entitled by law to one free credit report per year if you get them through
  • According to the Fair Credit Reporting Act* you are also entitled to a free credit report if you are unemployed and searching for work. It is not uncommon for a future employers to run a credit check on you, (another reason why you should take charge of knowing what is on your yearly report).
  • Check errors in your credit report you may ask to have it corrected, but this is a process that takes place via mail, and will not be an immediate fix.  If there is a problem be sure to take the time to resolve the discrepancy. 
  • Without a regular paycheck coming into your household, the use cash for discretionary expenses is the suggested way to make purchases. You will naturally be more careful and mindful of how you are spending your money. An important benefit of using "cash only" is that if an emergency were to arise you would have credit available.
  • Focus on making the minimum payments on your bills. Most important, make sure the payment is received on time. Maintain your cash reserves until you get your new job and when you get your new job, resume your goal of paying off your credit card balances.
  • Defer debts when possible. Call your lender and inquire about an "economic hardship" deferment. Student loan payments can be deferred if you have been unemployed for at least 30 days, allowing you to postpone your payments and for interest not to accrue during your unemployment. Deferred debt does not impact your credit score because deferred debt is not reported to the Credit Bureaus as late or missed payments.


*Fair Credit Reporting Act: The Fair Credit Reporting Act was enacted to govern how credit bureaus maintain, share and correct information in credit reports. It sets out, for  example, a method by which consumers can force inaccurate information to be removed from credit files. A 2003 amendment to the act granted consumers the right to get a free copy of their credit reports yearly from each of the three major credit bureaus.

It is strongly suggested that you find a reputable attorney to answer any legal questions. The following information may help to provide insight to your questions, but it in no way serves to completely educate an unemployed individual how to protect their credit score, how to seek employment.