As businesses are forced to close due to the coronavirus epidemic, a record of 6.6 million Americans filed for unemployment insurance last week. The surge of being jobless or furloughed is rising as companies cannot weather this economic storm. If you have lost your job or furloughed, we want to help. Here is your ultimate cheat sheet for how to get the help that’s available so that you can weather this storm.
If you have lost your income because of the virus outbreak, you will qualify for unemployment benefits. Unemployment benefits are to eligible workers who became unemployed through no fault of their own. The rescue package dramatically expands who is eligible for help.
The package includes self-employed people, freelancers, and contract workers who are unable to work because of COVID-19.
To apply for benefits, go to your state’s website, as the specific details will be listed. A starting place is Career One Stop which is sponsored by the U.S. Department of Labor you can find information and access your state to file and learn more details. Keep in mind that the sites are experiencing high volumes of traffic, so don’t give up.
The $2 Trillion Stimulus Package
For individuals who earn $75,000 in adjusted gross income or less will get a payment of $1,200. Married couples earning up to $150,000 would receive $2,400. An additional $500 will be paid per each child under the age of 17.
The payment will progressively be reduced for higher-income earners. The amount you receive will decrease by 5% of the amount your income exceeds $75,000. For those making more than $99,000, you will not qualify.
What to Do About Payments on Homes, Cars, and Credit Cards
The federal government is requiring mortgage companies to work with people who have lost their jobs or income. To give them reduced payments or no payments for the time being. In order to qualify, you need to have suffered a financial hardship related to the COVID-19 outbreak that makes you unable to meet basic living expenses. Things like losing your job because of business shutdowns, it does not just include being sick or caring for a sick family member.
Many lending companies are offering assistance for a variety of other types of loans, auto, credit cards, mortgages, insurance, and small business loans. Late fees for many of these are also waived during this time of crisis. However, you must call or reach out online to speak with them so that they can take note of it on your account. In addition, these payments may be put into a forbearance plan, which you want to understand when it ends and the details. It may mean that the loan extends, getting it in writing from the lender. Confirm that you are not paying extra interest or fees. As the goal is to help people during the national crisis.
They are suspending student loan payments. The Department of Education is allowing borrowers to suspend payments without penalties and accruing interest for at least 60 days.
The rescue package does include making furloughed workers eligible for unemployment benefits. Employers who will be willing to keep workers technically employees and getting health benefits, even if they can’t afford to pay employees. This is to keep company-sponsored health plans while getting unemployment.
If you lose your company benefits, COBRA is an option, where you pay out of pocket to maintain your same company benefits. However, this is not an inexpensive choice. Another option is to see if you can qualify for Medicaid. Losing a job is considered a life event that will allow you to enroll in state-level health care under the Affordable Care Act. Depending on your financial situation it can be free or for a very low price.