When Family Life Gets Turned Upside Down

Researched and Written by Andrea Bowling

What is a family emergency? Your family emergency will be as unique as your family and what you consider an emergency may not be considered an emergency by someone else.  Cake has an article showing the large range of family emergencies click here.  Someday you will receive a call or notification that will make you stomach drop and your world turn upside down. Your family will have an emergency and will need your help.  

Having open communication with your family about emergency situations before they happen is one of the best ways to start a plan. For example, if you have a family member that has pre-existing medical conditions, struggles with addiction, or has a high-risk job would all have different plans.  If your family does want to talk about the situations you can create a list of questions and items, you would need if an emergency does happen. 

Illness/Hospitalization, Death and Injury 

Consider what pre-existing conditions or upcoming procedures that your family may have will help prepare mentally, emotionally and financially. Depending on the severity and the condition you may want to discuss scenarios and work plans with your manager or human resource department. Click here, to read an article from Forbes on how to address a family emergency at work. 

Family emergencies are covered under FMLA, click here for additional information, each state has different criteria. Contact your local Veteran Service Office (VSO) to get connected to free legal advice through the VA. Find your local VSO by entering your zip code at the top of the Know A Vet? Web page, click here.  

Some situations will not be classified as a family emergency and will not be covered under FMLA. If this is the case for your situation, you should still talk to your manager or human resource department for additional benefits or resources that may be available to you. Care.com outlines how to address issues at work, click here, to read their article. 


Job loss  

Losing a job can set your family member back emotionally and financially.  Be prepared to offer support.  Click here to read advice from Real Simple on how to support them. If the family member is not part of your immediate household keep contact open with them and watch for signs of other issues. These issues could include need for help with food, housing, bills, or addiction.  

Be aware that some people may not be open to direct help until they have no other place to turn. Provide resources your family member can access can help them keep their independence and may be easier than asking for help directly from family. Visit Know A Vet? To find resources for your loved one in their zip code. 

Visit Know A Vet? for a list of resources for a wide range of issues and resources by zip code. Your local VSO can help connect you to other veteran or civilian organizations. To find your local VSO visit Know A Vet? and put your zip code in the box toward the top of the home page for your local Federal, State and County resources. 

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