he COVID-19 pandemic has caused some unprecedented financial challenges for people all over the world. In the United States, unemployment continues to rise, and many individuals and families are blowing through savings trying to stay afloat. During this emergency, millions of Americans are wondering where they can turn for relief from these financial woes. It is understandable that, with everything going on in the world, it can be overwhelming to try and find out where you can seek assistance. There are also several people out there trying to scam desperate people in search of a helping hand, so that can make some wary to reach out. Below are a couple of ways that some organizations, and the government, can help people during this crisis.
Your Bank or Credit Union
During this coronavirus situation, many people are faced with tight finances. In that type of situation, it is good to know what kind of programs or assistance your bank or credit union has to offer you. Many national lenders have released information on what they are doing to assist their customers. Some of these banks and credit unions are offering advice on how to approach your banking, as well as letting folks know how to avoid scams. Many lenders are offering to waive any late fees or overdraft charges during this period. Do you have any CDs that you might want to withdraw from to help with your finances? Many financial institutions are waiving any fees and penalties associated with that process.
If you happen to have a personal, auto, or mortgage loan with a lending institution that you are having trouble paying, there may be deferment or forbearance options that are available to you. There are also several of these same places are suspending foreclosures, repossessions, and assistance for credit cards. Simultaneously, if you want to borrow, now be a great time to get any kind of loan.
Several banks and credit unions are offering great interest rates to convince people to take out loans. If you are in a stable profession, without much chance of losing that income, now is a great time to pounce on these historic rates.
Assistance from Government AgenciesRead More »
Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)
The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program SNAP received $25 billion of assistance to help those who are in danger of going hungry because of this virus. This expanded program will now have more resources available to help people in need of stemming hunger. The application process is different in every state, so those interested should look up the requirements for the state they live in. There are special rules for homes with elderly and disabled individuals, so if you have that situation, be sure to clarify when you are looking for information. Local food banks and other charitable organizations are also helpful to individuals or families who currently are experiencing food insecurity.
As mentioned before, this country is seeing a record number of folks on the unemployment line. This has prompted lawmakers to give states the right to expand their unemployment benefits through the CARES Act. This expansion has given many individuals the right to apply and get unemployment funds when they wouldn’t have qualified before, like freelance workers. There may even be assistance for individuals who have a child at home because of a virus-related closure causing them to be unable to work from home. It is important that those who need aid work with your state unemployment office to find out all the latest information and to determine the aid for which you are eligible.
Another area where people may be feeling the stress is with their student loans. Some individuals have a hard time paying them even when times are stable financially. Luckily, there are several options available to you if you are unable to meet your financial obligations toward your lender. You may qualify for one of many deferment and forbearance programs that will suspend your student loan payments for a predetermined period. For example, certain loans have unemployment or economic hardship deferments attached to them that you may qualify for if you meet the eligibility requirements. For those who can pay something, but not the entire amount, because of a reduction in hours or pay, the Income-Based Repayment plan might be able to provide some relief.
Lawmakers have also stated that folks who are in these payment suspension plans will not be subject to accruing interest through September 30, 2020. This means you will not have to worry about your loan amount growing while you don’t make payments. For information about suspending your payments, people should contact their lender.
The Stimulus Check
As part of the CARES Act, it was determined that every person making $75,000 or less would be the recipient of a stimulus check for $1,200. Also, if you are a married couple that makes less than $150,000, both people would get a payment for $1,200. Those same married couples would also get an extra $500 for each child they had. The checks are from the U.S. Treasury and eligibility is determined by your 2019 or 2018 tax return. These funds are provided in the hopes that they will help stave off some of the financial stresses caused by the impact of the virus on the economy. Many people may also like to know that there is some conversation about the possibility of a second payment to Americans, but nothing has yet been decided.
Help is Out There
This is a financially strenuous time for many Americans. If you find yourself needing a financial lifeboat, do not hesitate to reach out for assistance. There are many avenues for help, no matter what your financial need.
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