It’s Your Money Column – Covering Financial Obligations in Times of Unemployment

Question: I was just notified that my job will end in two weeks. I don’t know how long it will take to find a new job and I’m concerned about how to cover my financial obligations.

Answer: Your first step is to file for unemployment insurance. The time period for your cash assistance begins one week after you first make your claim. If you wait for several weeks to file, you will not be able to claim benefits for the weeks prior to the time that you file. You can file at the Colorado Government Web page at, but better yet, visit the local Workforce Center at 3842 S. Mason St. Their phone number is 223-2470. They will help you check for job openings and training opportunities and help you with assessment of career skills.

The biggest concern of most families is how to keep up with mortgage payments. The number of people who are behind in their mortgage payments and who are losing their homes to foreclosure is rising. Unfortunately, too many people hold their breath and hope that they can catch up with their monthly payments and don’t take intentional steps to work with their lenders.

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, or HUD, offers the following advice:

Do not ignore letters from your lender. If you have problems making payments, contact your lender immediately. Make an appointment to show them details about your income and monthly expenses so they can help you work out a plan to tide you over until you are fully employed again.

Do not move out of your home. You may not qualify for assistance if you abandon your property.

Contact one of the more than 30 HUD-approved housing counseling agencies in Colorado. Their services are usually free of charge and they can help you locate services and programs. In Fort Collins and Loveland, contact the Consumer Credit Counseling Service of Northern Colorado and Southeast Wyoming (229-0695) and Neighbor to Neighbor (484-7598). For additional counseling agencies in Colorado and across the United States, visit the Web at

In some cases, you may be eligible to obtain an interest-free loan from HUD to bring your mortgage up-to-date if your loan is no more than 12 months delinquent, is not in foreclosure and if you can make full mortgage payments. Check the HUD Web page for more information at