Job Loss Checklist

What to Do After a Layoff or Termination

When you have lost your job, it's important to check on compensation due, benefits, references, and unemployment. If you have been fired or laid-off and haven't been informed about benefits, contact the Human Resources department at your former employer or your manager to request information on the status of your benefits. Your state department of labor may also be able to inform you about what you are entitled to receive.

Review this Job Loss Checklist to make sure that everything is covered, then focus on your job search.

How to File for Unemployment

Businessman holding plant pot and drawer, colleagues smiling in background
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If you have been laid off from your job you may be able to file for unemployment online without visiting an unemployment office. More

Employee Benefits When You Lose a Job

Overview of the employment related benefits that you may be eligible for when you resign, get fired, or get laid-off from your job. More

Fired - How to Handle a Termination

Review Information on how to handle getting fired and what to do if your job is terminated. More

Health Insurance (COBRA) or Obamacare

COBRA (Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act) gives employees and their families who lose their health benefits the option to continue group health benefits provided by their group health plan for limited periods of time. Obamacare is also an option. More

Pension Plans / 401K

If you are enrolled in a 401(k), profit sharing or another type of defined contribution plan, your plan may provide for a lump sum distribution of your retirement money when you leave the company. If you are participating in a defined benefit plan your benefits will begin at retirement age.


Last Paycheck

Information on when will you receive your last paycheck if you resign or are terminated from your job. More

Severance Pay

Severance pay may be given to employees upon termination of employment and is usually based on length of employment. If you are laid-off from your job or your position is eliminated, the employer may provide severance pay, but isn't required to. More

Vacation Pay, Overtime, and Back Pay

You may be entitled to accrued vacation, overtime, and sick pay when you leave your job. More


Reference and recommendation letters, sample recommendation letters and reference lists, how to ask for a reference, who to use if you didn't leave your job on good terms, and how to use references. More

Department of Labor

The US Department of Labor and the local state department of labor offices can help you with information on employment-related laws, regulations, and compliance information. More

Start a Job Search

Here are all the resources you'll need for a successful job search including how to write resumes, CVs, cover letters and other employment letters, where to look for jobs, and how to conduct a job search. More