Many question how long will this pandemic last and will they have enough money to outlast this dreadful economic downturn. Below is a brief summary of the most common sources of financial relief for individuals and families.
The CARES Act also includes federal funding to allow for additional funds to supplement state unemployment benefits so that more individuals will be eligible for unemployment benefits. This additional funding makes benefits available to those who would not normally be eligible for unemployment benefits, including those who are self-employed. It is still up to the states to process applications, and many unemployment departments are backlogged with requests. If you have experienced a loss of income or employment due to the pandemic, you should visit your state’s unemployment website as soon as possible for more information about applying.
Public Utilities Many state and local public utilities are rolling out various forms of assistance for customers. Where available, the companies are offering lower, hardship-based rates, providing payment plans, and waiving deposit requirements. Many companies have also announced that they will not shut off power for delinquent payments. However, consumers should be mindful that eventually, all balances may become due, so when possible, those bills should still be made on time to prevent an unmanageable bill at the end of the pandemic.
Other Ways To Lower Expenses Due to the sweeping magnitude of the effects of the pandemic, many companies are offering lower rates, payment options, or other relief, such as forbearances, to customers. Now is a good time to look at negotiating or pausing other bills, including credit cards, student loans, utilities, car insurance, and internet and cell phone service. Make sure to have your financial information available regarding your specific hardships.
What To Do If You Are Still Coming Up Short If you find yourself in the position that you are still unable to meet all your financial obligations due to the pandemic, you are not alone. Relief efforts may not be enough to help everyone sufficiently during this time. In this circumstance, it is important to prioritize the necessary expenses. Generally, rent or mortgage payments, utilities, and groceries should be the top focus. However, with various freezes on utility disconnections, evictions, and foreclosures, you may be able to hold off paying those bills if necessary to ensure your family has food, medications, and other necessities. If you have to skip payments, choose to skip only what you absolutely have to in order to prevent accruing balances and debts that will be too burdensome to pay back after the pandemic ends. Before skipping any payment, make sure you have as much information as possible from the company: possible interest charges, when any unpaid balances may become due in full, and what disconnection or eviction protections will remain in place and for how long.
Additional Resources You may also be able to find other avenues of assistance through your local churches, schools, charity organizations (such as the Salvation Army), state departments of health and human services, or other local community organizations. Assistance may not necessarily include monetary help but could take the form of free meals, clothing, or other provisions.
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Disclaimer: All the information in this blog is published in good faith and for general information purpose only. It does not make any guarantees about the completeness, reliability and accuracy of this information. Any action you take upon the information you find in this blog is strictly at your own risk.