- an accident
- a medical condition/illness
- the death of a wage-earner
- divorce (like if you were divorced and the spouse was responsible for the mortgage but it was on your credit)
- and even unemployment in rare situations (such as the situation of a plant closing, a "mass layoff" - this will be accompanied by a layoff notice as described in the WARN Act).
Did any of the above describe the reason for your major decrease in salary?
Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) Act Compliance Assistance Materials: http://www.doleta.gov/layoff/warn.cfm