Many Americans are unaware of the coronavirus-related financial assistance that’s available to them
80 percent of unemployed Americans say they haven’t reached out for relief measures, according to Credit Karma. Here’s what you may qualify for.
Many unemployed people may not be aware of the coronavirus-related financial assistance that is available to them.
A whopping 80 percent of unemployed Americans say they haven’t reached out for relief measures, according to Credit Karma.
They think they don’t qualify. They’re overwhelmed by all the information. They don’t even know where to start.
These are the top reasons for not accessing assistance, according to the financial advice website, which surveyed 1,037 U.S. adults in April about their understanding of government relief measures related to COVID-19.
The stimulus checks are the top story, but you may be able to access other types of relief. Here’s what else you may qualify for.
You may qualify for paid leave
Qualified workers, including those telecommuting, can get two weeks of paid leave at full pay courtesy of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act.
Valid reasons include being unable to work because you are under quarantine order, have coronavirus symptoms and are seeking diagnosis, or must care for a child whose school or daycare provider is shut.
If you’re caring for a sick family member, you might still qualify for a portion of your pay.
Help with utility bills
Many utility companies — including PG&E, Con Edison, American Electric Power Company and Duke Energy, among others — have suspended service disconnections.
You may be able to set up a payment plan for your utility bill or have some fees waived, such as for late payments. Check the website of your provider for assistance tapping into other support programs, such as Housing and Urban Development’s COVID-19 resources. Your state’s website may help. Some are stopping utility companies from shutting off services.
Sign up for insurance
If you lost your job and need health insurance, some states are holding special ACA open enrollments. AARP keeps an updated list of extensions on state health exchanges.
Uninsured people in Washington, D.C., Maryland, New York and Vermont can enroll for health insurance through their state exchanges through June 15. California is allowing state residents to enroll through June 30.
Find out if you qualify for Medicaid by inputting your state, family size and income level on the Healthcare.gov calculator.
The CARES Act has aid for homeowners who are struggling with their federally backed mortgage payments but renters also have some help.
Many states and cities have put a stop order on evictions. New York, for instance, has a 90-day eviction ban. A Columbia Law School professor frequently updates this list of state actions.
The federal government has pushed the filing and payment deadline for 2019 income taxes to at least July 15 — and it could be as late as September.
You have time not only to do the paperwork but to come up with the money if you owe taxes. Many states have also delayed filing and payment, but not all. Check with your state or the American Institute of CPAs, which keeps an updated list.