Make sure your family’s basic needs are met
Assess your financial needs over the coming several months and prioritize necessary expenses. If possible, use your tax refund and Economic Impact Payments for food, medicines, and other items for your family’s well-being, such as:
- Medical care
- Housing and utilities
- Caregiving for children or other family members.
- Telephone and internet to help you stay in contact
General Tips for Protecting Yourself Financially during the COVID Pandemic
General Information for Bank and Credit Union Customers
- Information for bank customers affected by COVID-19
- Sign up for email alerts from your bank or credit union to keep abreast of their programs to assist individuals and families during these times.
- Online resources for filing a complaint about a bank or a credit union
Mortgage and Housing Assistance
- Mortgage Basics Learn how to read your monthly mortgage statement or understand key mortgage terms, like mortgage forbearance.
- Mortgage Relief Options
- Protections for Renters and a video on protections for renters - The newly authorized Emergency Rental Assistance Program makes available $25 billion to assist households that are unable to pay rent and utilities due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The funds are provided directly to States, U.S. Territories, local governments, and Indian tribes which will use the funds to provide assistance to eligible households through existing or newly created rental assistance programs. Eligible households include renter households in which at least one individual qualifies for unemployment or has experienced a reduction in household income or experienced a financial hardship do to COVID-19; demonstrates a risk or homelessness or housing instability; and has a household income of at or below 80% of the area median. Individuals should contact their States, U.S. Territories, local governments, and Indian tribes for more information on accessing this assistance.
- General Housing Issues -- Government Certified Housing counselors throughout the country can provide advice on buying a home, renting, defaults, foreclosures, and credit issues. These trained professionals provide advice for little or no cost, and they will work with you to discuss your situation, evaluate options, and even help you negotiate with your lenders and servicers. Call 1-800-569-4287
Consumer Credit and other Loans and Debt
If you have trouble keeping up with your bills, be sure to ask for help. You may be able to pay some by the due date and the rest when you have adequate resources. You may be able to renegotiate your payment due dates or the monthly minimum amounts due.
Tips and suggestions if you are struggling with paying credit card bills or your auto loans
Dealing with Debt issues during coronavirus pandemic
Tips for Getting out of Debt
Reputable credit counseling organizations are generally non-profit organizations that can advise you on your money and debts, and help you with a budget. Some may also help you negotiate with creditors. There are specific questions you can use when looking for a credit counseling organization to work with you.
Review your credit report to ensure the credit bureaus have correct and complete information about your use of credit. The three national credit bureaus – Equifax, Experian and TransUnion -- are offering consumers free online credit reports weekly through April 2021.
All principal and interest payments on many federal student loans have been suspended through January 31, 2021.
Coronavirus and Forbearance Info for Students, Borrowers, and Parents
Guidance if you can’t afford to make your student loan payments.
Telephone, cellphone, and Internet
- Many communications companies are suspending cancelling services, waiving fees and arranging payment plans. See the Keep America Connected Campaign to learn about services available.
- The federal Lifeline Support for Affordable Communications Program might be a good option if you need only basic telephone service. You can see if you are eligible by reviewing the information available at lifelinesupport.org (see "Do I Qualify?")
Utilities Bill (water, gas/oil, electricity)
- Many utility companies are helping customers who are having difficulty paying their bills. Check with your local utility for more information on help paying bills.
- The federal Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program can assist with paying your heating and cooling bills, emergency services in case of energy crisis such as utility shutoffs, and low-cost improvements that make your home more energy efficient and lower your utility bills. Please see the Federal Rental Emergency Assistance above for additional details on federal-funded grants to State and other government agencies to assist renters with paying utility and home energy costs, including past-due bills.
Five things you can do to avoid a Coronavirus Scams
Government agencies will not call or text you about benefits or money, and they won’t ask you for a deposit, fees or other payment in order to get your benefits. In addition, government agencies will not ask you for your Social Security number, bank account number, or credit card number. If someone tells you they need these to get your payment, they may be scamming you.
Be careful about emails, calls, and texts from sources you don’t know, and be especially careful about offers that seem “to good to be true.”
Be on the lookout for phishing scams and investment scams.
How to Donate Wisely and Avoid Charity Scams. Your charitable donations can help others in your community, around the country and around the world, but watch out for scams.
If you spot a scam, please tell the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). The FTC will share the information with federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies
To make sure you get timely and accurate information, sign up for emails and text updates from federal, state or territory, local and tribal government agencies, your bank, insurance company and other financial companies that you do business with, your creditors (such as mortgage company or student lender and servicer).
OTHER HELP WITH FINANCES
If you need help with other financial issues, there are many federal resources available below. Taking these steps will help all you get through this emergency and strengthen your financial health.
- Filing for Unemployment Insurance with your state. Options for how to receive your unemployment benefits and a video on unemployment options
- Using Family and Medical Leave during the pandemic. Many employers must provide employees with paid sick leave or expanded family and medical leave for specified reasons related to COVID-19.
- Understanding your Health and Retirement Benefits if you lose or change jobs
- The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (or “Food Stamps” program) can help you meet food expenses. Directory of State Information on how to apply for this assistance.
- For other financial help from the government if you’ve been affected by the coronavirus pandemic or a natural disaster