Coronavirus is creating an unprecedented financial crisis for many families who are unable to work from home or whose employers have slowed down or even shutdown operations. If you’re looking for ways to reduce your monthly debts until things return to normal, here is some information on available financial assistance for people impacted by Coronavirus.
1 – Mortgage Forbearance
Contact your mortgage provider to find out whether you can pause mortgage payments for up to a year. This option is already offered by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Others are likely to follow. The forbearance will not change the amount that you owe for your mortgage. It will simply reduce or delay payments, avoiding penalties and allowing you to catch back up later. Some lenders are even considering an extension of loan periods rather than catching up to the amounts owed. In other words, instead of paying back the 12 months’ worth of payments, you would simply start paying the regularly monthly amount again. As a result, your loan would be paid off one year later than previously expected. The details vary, so be sure to check with your lender on the options available to you.
2 – Unemployment Assistance
If you are newly unemployed due to contracting COVID-19, caring for a family member who has contracted it, loss of employment due to a business shutdown, or were ordered to self quarantine, you may apply for unemployment benefits in most states. For Massachusetts residents, visit the state unemployment website for frequently asked questions about unemployment qualification and benefits. You can also apply online for unemployment, which is the quickest and easiest option right now.
3 – Credit Card Rates and Fees
Some credit card companies, such as American Express, are waiving interest rates and late fees for customers affected by Coronavirus. This is extremely helpful if you need to carry a balance on your credit cards over the next few months. Other credit card companies are offering similar programs or are helping in other ways. Click here for a list of banks offering assistance.
Other Financial Assistance for People Impacted by Coronavirus
These are just a few examples of available financial assistance for people impacted by Coronavirus. The best way to find assistance programs available to you is to visit the website for service providers. This includes credit card companies, mortgage companies, insurance providers, and organizations serving your local community. Call centers are often overwhelmed with phone inquiries, so be sure to check their websites first before attempting to call. The stimulus package may also be finally approved today, although checks may not be sent to households until May. Stay up-to-date on the news for additional relief programs that are likely to be offered by communities and organizations as well all look for ways to help each other through these difficult times.