STEPS TO TAKE IF YOU’RE CONCERNED ABOUT PAYING BILLS
- If you haven’t looked at a budget in a while, now’s the time to do so. Every Dollar is a great free app to use to get a budget together.
- Cut spending to bare necessities. If you can’t pay all of your bills, Dave Ramsey recommends you spend your money on these four items first and in this order:
- If you’re still not able to cover all of your expenses, identify payments that can be deferred:
- Call creditors to explain your situation. You can ask for temporary relief on your monthly payments. If you offer to still send some money, even if it’s a smaller amount than your typical payment, they might be more willing to work with you.
- If you have federal student loans, you can forbear (interest accrues) or defer (interest doesn’t accrue on subsidized federal loans) your loan payments.
- For student loans, use this questionnaire to understand what options are available to you.
STATE AND NATIONAL RELIEF MEASURES
- Bank of America and other major banks have all said that if customers are having trouble making payments on loans (mortgages, credit cards, personal loans, auto loans, etc.) to call them to find out what options are available.
- Foreclosures will be suspended for 60 days on all HUD-owned properties and mortgages backed by the FHA, Fannie Mae, or Freddie Mac. Additionally, homeowners are eligible for a forbearance plan to reduce or suspend their mortgage payments for up to 12 months. Borrowers should contact their loan servicer to ask about this.
- Massachusetts has enacted a moratorium on Evictions and Foreclosures for the duration of the declared Coronavirus Emergency. See the state website (mass.gov) for info.
- Suspend Federal student loan payments through September 30 with no accrual of interest on these loans. Borrowers should contact their loan servicer to ask about this.
- Individuals that apply for unemployment insurance will receive an additional $600/week for up to four months on top of what they would normally receive from unemployment benefits. Self-employed workers and independent contractors are eligible for this program. File online by clicking HERE
- The tax-filing deadline has been moved from April 15 to July 15 for both Federal and Massachusetts
- Emergency paid leave for up to three months if you are sick, quarantined, or taking care of a sick family member. It would be 2/3 of your normal salary and doesn’t apply if you receive unemployment compensation (employers with fewer than 500 employees).
- For funds taken out of retirement accounts like 401(k)s or IRAs, the 10 percent tax penalty is waived for people who are experiencing economic hardships.
- Free COVID-19 testing for anyone, regardless of insurance status. Click HERE for testing sites in Massachusetts.
"Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand." Isaiah 41:10