Despite what most folks think, you do not have to file for unemployment benefits immediately after getting laid off. While many people certainly need the money and cushion, others may have more flexibility in when they can claim their benefits. If you’re a part of the latter, it would be wise to weigh your options before collecting your PG&E unemployment benefits.
All circumstances are different. However, you should know that all money received as income is taxable. If you leave a job at a point in the year where you have earnings, accept a severance check, and you claim unemployment benefits, these will all add up and can possibly push you towards a new tax bracket which would force you to pay higher taxes. In this situation it may be beneficial to wait to claim your unemployment benefits.
Unemployment benefits are calculated based on your wages from your previous employer over the past 15 months. If you wait too long to claim your benefits, your payments could be lowered if you had, within those 15 months, some months of $10,000 in earnings and other months with $0 in earnings. The computations and rules differ by state, so we recommend visiting your state’s website to go over exact details, and if further questions ensue, reach out to an experienced Financial Advisor.
Here are a few items to consider when going over your Unemployment Benefits:
Ask about any references, the vacation time you accrued, sick and overtime pay, and your eligibility for unemployment insurance. It is important to understand how to bridge your company pension if you come back, and the continuation of health coverage.
Severance packages also vary enormously dependent on several factors, so, if your settlement does not completely account for what you need, check with your manager. There are several things to consider when taking out your severance. To maximize your benefits, analyze your situation. Would it be beneficial to take your severance out as a lump sum or as payments? Or maybe even take your severance over a period of two separate years? All of these questions and options can be analyzed by a Financial Advisor to get the best result possible.
To ultimately maximize your benefits, reach out to a Financial Advisor to go over a plan. Timing is key and with the help of someone that has years of experience with handling PG&E employees and guiding clients through the path that will be most beneficial to your goals.
- The Retirement Group or www.theretirementgroup.com
- “Retirement Plans-Benefits & Savings.” U.S. Department of Labor, 2019, www.dol.gov/general/topic/retirement.
- “Generating Income That Will Last throughout Retirement.” Fidelity, 22 Jan. 2019, www.fidelity.com/viewpoints/retirement/income-that-can-last-lifetime.
- PG&E Summary Plan Description, 2017