If COVID-19 is impacting your ability to pay your bills, this guide covers some of the financial relief and payment deferment options that may be available to help.

Financial Impact of COVID-19

In an effort to contain the spread of COVID-19, businesses from all over the country are now either working remotely, or are temporarily shut down for safety reasons. As a result, over 22 million people have recently lost their jobs and filed for unemployment in the past month. 

The number of unemployed workers is expected to increase over the next month. This adds another layer of stress for families who depend on their monthly paycheck to cover their bills. If you’re struggling to make ends meet, below are some financial relief and payment deferment options to consider.

CARES Act Stimulus Checks

In response to the unsettling financial stress caused by the virus, Congress recently passed the CARES Act designating over 2 trillion dollars in relief funding. This includes stimulus checks expected to be sent to all qualifying Americans based on their most recently filed 2018 or 2019 tax return.

How Much Will I Receive in Stimulus Relief?

According to CNBC, individuals with an annual income below $75,000 could receive up to a $1,200 stimulus check. Meanwhile, qualifying married couples could get up to $2,400. An extra $500 per child may be added in either scenario. However, the stimulus relief starts to fade out for individuals making more than $75,000 annually, or married couples earning more than $150,000.

What If I Can’t Afford to Pay My Bills?

Luckily, many businesses are loyal to their customers and financial relief may be available. Below are some public and private areas where you may be able to ask for a payment reduction or payment deferment.

  • Student Loans 
  • Credit Cards
  • Auto Loans
  • Rent & Mortgage
  • Utility Bills

Student Loans

Under the CARES Act, most federal student loan borrowers qualify for an automatic payment suspension until December 31st, 2020. 

Borrowers who do not qualify for CARES Act, may still be able to defer their payments through a forbearance or deferment program. 

For more information regarding COVID-19 student loan relief, click here for Docupop’s full recap. 

Credit Cards

A large number of Americans depend on credit cards for daily purchases. Thankfully, most banks and lenders have updated their policies to assist in this crisis. Some lenders may defer or even suspend payments, remove or refund late fees, increase credit limits, extend due dates, and more. Since lenders have different policies in place, it’s important to contact your specific lender about available relief programs.

Auto Loans

Auto payments take up a big chunk of monthly expenses. Especially for families with more than one leased of financed car. Several auto lenders are allowing payment deferment options to their customers if their financial status has changed due to COVID-19. Others are assisting on a case-by-case basis and may allow customers to defer payments for up to 120 days without late fees. Contact your auto lender to see if they are willing to work with you and your budget. 

Rent & Mortgage

  • Rent: On a federal level, a 120-day evictions and late fees moratorium has been put in place thanks to the new CARES Act policy. But only a quarter of renters live in federally owned properties. Therefore, 34 states around the country passed their own eviction moratorium policy to protect renters. However, if you’re unable to pay your full rent, tell your landlord about your unique financial situation to come up with an agreeable payment plan. 
  • Mortgage: Homeowners with federally backed mortgages are also protected under the CARES Act policy. Which means you may be able to reduce or defer payments for a 12-month period. Some states have other programs in place for homeowners without federally backed mortgages. Additionally, some lenders allow owners to restructure their mortgage terms altogether. 

Utility Bills

As an increasing number of Americans experience a job loss or financial impact due to COVID-19, some utility companies are claiming they won’t shut off power if tenants are unable to pay their utility bills. It’s still important to contact your utility providers to let them know about your financial situation. To assist you in this crisis, they may allow reduced or payment deferment options during the time you’re unable to pay.

Disclaimer: The information above is general in nature and is not a comprehensive list of the details included in the CARES Act or the private relief options that may available. Links to third-party web sites are provided for convenience only. Docupop does not endorse nor support the content of third-party links. Docupop is not responsible for the content of a third-party website. By clicking on a third-party link, you will leave the Docupop email portal. Privacy and security policies may differ from those practiced by Docupop.

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