There is so much information being thrown at us. I came across an NPR article that is a good coronavirus update for people who have lost their jobs due to the crisis. There are several highlights in the article that should be of interest to people facing financial difficulties.
More people are eligible for unemployment benefits. From the article, Gig workers like Uber drivers, self-employed people, freelancers and contract workers should all be eligible for benefits if they are unable to work because of COVID-19.
States unemployment websites are overwhelmed with applications. They also contain a lot of information. Here is a link to New Jersey’s website to apply or learn more about unemployment benefits.
For those facing financial hardship, the federal government is ordering mortgage companies to allow people who have lost their job or income to make reduced payments or to skip payments. You should call your bank to see what remedies are available regarding your mortgage. Do the same for your car loans and credit card bills. Whatever you do, do not just stop paying your bills. Your lender may let you skip a payment or two. However, you will have to pay it eventually. Additionally, fully understand all arrangements that you make with your lenders. Keep records.
When the crisis passes, you want to be in the best financial position as possible. Therefore, make a budget. Reduce expenses as much as possible. Government assistance and unemployment benefits may take a while to get to you. So, you need to be prepared.
Talk to your landlord. Perhaps arrangements can be made to defer payments. Look at your lease. Maybe there is language in there that allows for negotiation. I am guessing that there will be much contract litigation when this is over. People will claim that the COVID-19 crisis is an act of God.
I hope that this information is helpful. Look out for my next coronavirus update. In the meantime, please contact me if you have any questions. I am doing phone consultation with those facing financial hardship. Most important, please be safe and stay home if you can.