CARES ACT (2020) + Unemployment Benefits
Millions of Americans have been either laid off or furloughed, and are thus without a reliable source of income. The global Covid-19 pandemic has changed the rules of traditional unemployment by expanding who is eligible for benefits. Many people like gig workers or self-employed workers are traditionally not eligible for unemployment, but the new CARES Act expands unemployment benefits to them as well, among others. A more digestible breakdown of the new law can be found on NPR, here.
Applying for unemployment may seem like a daunting task. Are you eligible for benefits? How do you qualify? What’s needed to start receiving unemployment insurance (UI)? Many states have recently launched updated programs to accommodate these traditionally ineligible candidates. Check out your state’s Department of Labor here to determine what is needed to apply in your state and, most importantly, receive benefits.
Deferring Mortgage, Rent, & Utility Payments
Without a reliable source of income, Americans are devastated and frantically deciding how they are going to live. While Congress has said that Americans may skip mortgage, rent, or utility payments without penalty, the lack of written and definitive law has many very worried about the potential consequences of missed payments.
Those considering or are being forced to skip their payments for the upcoming month or months should contact their loan agents or landlords to see about appending any missed payments to the end of their loan program, if applicable. Otherwise, many economic experts fear that some Americans may end up being responsible for a massive ballooned due at the end of Stay-At-Home Orders. Additionally, while many regions have prohibited the shutting off of utilities during Stay-At-Home orders, the concern about a sudden all-in-one back payment still applies. Contact your utility providers to see if they can recreate a financial plan for missed payments.
Further, some car insurance companies, State Farm, are offering partial refunds since many are not driving at this time due to Stay-At-Home Orders. Contact your car insurance agent to see how they may be able to assist you.
Credit Cards + Student Loan Forebearance
Many credit card companies are suspending traditional monthly interest charges on credit debt. Call your credit card provider to see if they can help you or what options may be available to you.
Additionally, all Federal Student Loans have been put into an automatic “Virus Pandemic Forbearance.” You can determine if your student loan is federally sponsored if your account number starts with an “E”. If your loan isn’t federally sponsored, you may still be eligible for a 90 day forbearance due to the pandemic, but you will have to call, inquire, and apply.