COVID-19 Resources: Where to Find the Help You Need

Given the COVID-19 outbreak, many individuals and families are seeking financial resources and support. Regardless of your financial situation, knowing what national and local programs to look for can help alleviate the financial pressures you may be feeling right now. 

Deferring Tax Payments

Following the emergency declaration pursuant to the Stafford Act, individual and non-corporate tax filers are permitted to defer up to $1 million in federal income tax payments originally due on April 15,  2020, to July 15, 2020, without penalty. Filers who defer payment won’t pay interest on the amount they owe, either. 

You can still file your taxes and receive a refund, but if you file and owe a payment to the IRS, that payment can be deferred. If, for some reason, you already filed your taxes and know you owe a payment, contact your tax professional and your local bank to look into deferring the payment.

Credit Cards Waiving Late Fees

A number of different banks and credit card companies are offering assistance to those impacted by COVID-19. Citi Bank, for example, is offering waived late fees, and a waived requirement to make the minimum payment shown on your statement. Similarly, Bank of America is offering the option for cardholders to request payment deferrals. The following banks are currently offering some level of disaster assistance program:

  • American Express
  • Goldman Sachs
  • Barclays
  • Capital One
  • Chase
  • Citibank
  • Comenity Bank
  • Discover
  • Petal
  • PNC Bank
  • Synchrony
  • Wells Fargo

If your bank isn’t listed here, that doesn’t mean they don’t have a payment assistance program in the works! Reach out to your credit card company to see what options are available to you.

Mortgage Payments

Mortgage payments are something that many people are concerned about, especially if they’ve lost all or a portion of their income due to the pandemic. Luckily, many banks are currently offering programs that suspend foreclosures, defer payments, or waive late fees. This article from Business Insider lists a number of banks that have enacted mortgage-protection programs. Again, if your mortgage is through a local bank or credit union, check-in with them to see if they offer coronavirus-specific programs right now. 

Student Loans

Through the CARES Act, federal student loans are in forbearance (you don’t have to make payments) through September 30, 2020. Additionally, federal student loans aren’t accruing interest at this time. If you decide to continue making payments during this period of time, your payment will go fully toward your loan principal. However, have private student loans, you’ll still owe your regularly scheduled payments.

If, for some reason, your income has been impacted by coronavirus and you’re unable to make payments on your private student loans you have several options available to you. Some loan providers, such as Navient, are offering an administrative forbearance period of up to three months on qualified private loans for borrowers who request it. Other lenders are taking a similar approach. If you have private loans, check with your lender to see what options are available to you to either reduce or defer payments.

Bill Payments Deferred

Many providers, from utility companies to landlords, are offering bill payment deferral programs. For example, if you rent, evictions have been halted through mid-June in New York, and many other states are following suit. Some landlords are offering rent deferment or a reduction in required payments. If you’re struggling to make ends meet right now, take a look at your expenses and start reaching out to providers to see what sort of assistance programs they’re currently offering.

Unemployment Extensions

The CARES Act extended unemployment benefits for up to four months, and those who are receiving unemployment will receive a $600/week increase in addition to their regular payments. 

Look Local

Although there are many national programs in place right now both through the government and individual providers (like lenders, credit card companies, etc.), it’s equally important to look toward your local government and providers to see what other assistance programs are available. 

Local governments may be offering community resources to help with the financial burden of unemployment. Alternatively, your local government may be offering special programs for educating your kids at home, getting access to food banks, and more. 

Have Questions?

If you have any questions as you move through this unprecedented time, we encourage you to reach out. We’re here to help in any way we can!

Wood Smith Advisors, a woman-owned Registered Investment Advisor (RIA), is a fee-only financial services firm that partners with its clients to simplify their financial lives. We focus on women, entrepreneurs, and individuals with complex financial situations, providing objective and competent advice, education and services to help them develop and build their businesses and reach their financial goals. We can be reached by clicking here.

"Finance Made Simple" blog posts are intended for educational purposes and not for specific advice. Each person’s situation is different. Consult your financial advisor for advice relating to topics discussed.

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