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Are You Aware of the COVID-19 Government Financial Relief Available?

COVID-19 Government Financial Relief

A recent survey by Credit Karma of 1,037 U.S. adults conducted in April indicated that nearly 80% of consumers who have been unemployed and financially impacted by the coronvirus pandemic are not utilizing the COVID-19 government financial relief available to them.

Although a majority of those who answered (roughly 79%) indicated that they knew about COVID-19 government financial relief available, many respondents (62%) reported that they did not know where to start to apply for assistance.

In fact, only 20% of respondents indicated that they’ve used the financial relief available to them.

While the survey results may not tell the full picture, they do indicate that there is a gap between those who are eligible for financial assistance as a result of the pandemic and those who are benefitting from the resources.

Unemployment Hits Historic Levels

Since the middle of March, Americans have filed more than 36.5 Million claims for unemployment benefits – historic levels that haven’t been seen in the U.S. since The Great Depression.

And while this survey indicates that the actual numbers may be far higher, there are financial resources to help those who have been impacted. From community-based programs to federal financial relief, there are resources in place to help. As with many relief programs, it may be confusing and challenging getting the help you need, but it’s in your best interest to take advantage of all the benefits available. We would like to point you in the right direction for help. Here are a few types of COVID-19 government financial relief that may be available to you.

Unemployment Benefits

In March 2020, new federal law expanded unemployment insurance for displaced workers. Many who were not previously covered are now eligible. 

According to guidelines available through the Department of Labor you may be eligible if:

  • Your employer permanently or temporarily laid you off due to coronavirus
  • Your employer reduced your work hours due to coronavirus
  • You are self-employed and have lost income due to coronavirus
  • You’re quarantined and can’t work due to coronavirus
  • You’re unable to work due to a risk of exposure to coronavirus
  • You can’t work because you’re caring for a family member due to coronavirus

Filing for unemployment benefits begins with filing a claim with the unemployment insurance program in the state where you worked. Depending on the state, claims may be filed in person, by telephone, or online. The U.S. Department of Labor offers a guide to help you get started through the Unemployment Benefits Finder.

Housing Assistance

The CARES ACT has provisions in place to offer mortgage protection and assistance to those impacted financially during this time. Specific provisions of the CARES ACT:

  • Your lender may not foreclose on you for a minimum of 60 days after March 18, 2020. Lenders and servicers cannot initiate a judicial or non-judicial foreclosure against you, or from finalizing a foreclosure judgment or sale during this time.
  • You have a right to request a forbearance for up to 180 days if you have experienced a financial hardship. You also have the right to request an extension for up to another 180 days. You must contact your loan servicer to request this forbearance.

Here are a couple of things to note: Forbearance doesn’t mean your payments are forgiven or erased. You will still be required to repay any missed or reduced payments when the forbearance ends. Make sure you understand the conditions of the forbearance as there can be different forbearance programs or options, depending on the type of your loan.

Additional Benefits May Be Available

You may qualify for additional benefits, including resources for healthcare or food and nutrition. A great place to start is with the Benefit Finder at Benefits.gov to locate any supplemental benefits available.

Benefits.gov does not administer benefits or accept applications for benefits, but they are an excellent resource to help guide you about resources you may not have considered and how to get started with the application process.

If you have trouble paying your financial obligations during this time, there may be a number of options to help, especially if you reach out early to your lenders or creditors and explain your financial situation.

Don’t try to do it all on your own. There are often local resources that can help you stay afloat in additional to federal resources. A great place to start is by contacting your local 211.org for a list of resources in your state. We’ve also created a list of resources for consumers facing financial difficulty that can provide some helpful information.

If you are experiencing financial difficulty and are looking for a solution, CESI is here to help. Our counselors are available to assist if you are experiencing job loss, temporary loss of income or financial hardship during this time. Contact us today for a free financial assessment with one of our certified credit counselors.


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1 Response to Are You Aware of the COVID-19 Government Financial Relief Available?

  1. Cherie Peach says:

    What about my school loans? I had claimed bankruptcy back in 09 and now it’s rising substantially, how can I get relief?

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