The global coronavirus pandemic is a rapidly evolving situation impacting Americans’ daily lives. For many, that means uncertainty surrounding job status, income and finances.
Here, we have compiled links to numerous financial resources to help people navigate through this difficult time.
Planning a budget will help you allocate and stretch your financial resources in the coming weeks and months. The recently passed CARES Act is designed to help Americans make it through this uncertain time. Beginning in late April, individuals with incomes up to $75,000 and married couples with incomes up to $150,000 will receive one-time payments of $1,200 and $2,400, respectively. Households with children under the age of 17 will receive an additional $500 per child. Individuals with incomes between $75,000 -$99,000 and married couples with incomes between $150,000 - $198,000 will receive lower payments on a sliding scale.
- Here’s how you can make the most of your stimulus payment.
- Our expenses calculator can help you quickly put together a basic budget.
- Be sure your budget includes fixed, variable and periodic expenses.
- Here are tips to help you plan a workable budget and how to budget with inconsistent income.
- When money is tight, here’s the order in which to pay bills.
As states see record numbers of unemployment claims, the federal government will provide additional assistance beyond standard unemployment benefits. The Extended Unemployment Insurance (UI) program:
- Offers unemployed workers an additional $600 per week for four months, above and beyond to what state UI programs pay.
- Applies to self-employed, independent contractors and gig economy workers.
- Extends UI benefits through Dec. 31 for eligible workers.
Credit & Debt
Many creditors and services providers are in the process of creating and implementing policies to assist consumers through this crisis. Until those are fully rolled out, here is general information on how to work with creditors if you are having trouble paying bills.
We encourage you to contact creditors and lenders as soon as you realize you won’t be able to make a payment. The quicker you act, the more options you’ll have available.
Click here for credit card issuer contact information, as well as the steps that are being taken for those impacted by the COVID-19 crisis.
Keep in mind, most creditors and banks are operating with a reduced workforce, so patience is key. See the types of relief creditors are offering.
- You may be able to negotiate lower credit card interest rates.
- If your income is temporarily reduced, consider credit card hardship programs.
- Here’s what to do if you can’t pay the mortgage or make your vehicle payment.
- Some tips to get through a cash crunch without using credit cards.
- A credit card cash advance might come in handy, but try these alternatives first.
The Department of Education is taking steps to help ease student loan borrowers’ financial burdens.
- As of Friday, March 27, 2020, ALL federal student loan payments are suspended until September 30, 2020. No interest will accrue, and failure to pay during this period will not affect credit scores or a borrower’s qualifications for loan forgiveness programs.
- The bill also suspends any wage garnishments or tax refund reductions for borrowers whose federal student loans are currently in default.
- Watch for direct communication from your loan servicer(s) with more information to arrive soon.
If you need additional help understanding your student loan situation, talk with one of our certified student loan counselors at 877-784-2008 or complete online student loan counseling.
Food & Household Essentials
General guidelines recommend keeping approximately two weeks’ worth of food on-hand, if possible.
We also recommend following your state’s governor, as well as other local government officials, on social media to stay current on what’s happening closest to your home.
Our counselors are available to assist in planning a budget. Please call 866-528-0588 to speak with a certified credit counselor, or complete a free online financial review.
Current Take Charge America clients may access their account information any time at MyTCA.org