About 2 weeks ago, I wrote about a list of resources for people struggling to pay their bills, or anticipating that trouble. Things are moving quickly, and Lenders and the US Government have been acting fast. Now, here is an updated list of resources for people who need help in these trying times, due to job layoff or cut in hours. Everyone will be challenged to keep up with their bills, because the State of Illinois has continued the Stay at Home Order until April 30, 2020. So it is important to get help now, and prevent bigger problems later. Here are ways to help yourself NOW:
- File for Unemployment Compensation: The new CARES Act allows more people to claim unemployment than in the past. If you are self-employed, a gig worker, such as an Uber or Lyft driver, or if you didn’t have as much work as you needed before claiming it, you can claim it now. Here is an article explaining who can now claim unemployment. Here is the link for the State of Illinois Department of Employment Security to file the claim.
- Mortgage help—Contact your lender! Federally guaranteed lenders are guided by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and their programs are here. And, you need to contact your lender to apply for help. But watch out, because they may defer payments for only a few months, with ALL OF THE PAYMENTS DUE AT THE END OF THAT TIME PERIOD. Ask for a deferral to the end of the loan if at all possible! If you are in Bankruptcy, call your lawyer now, because the programs may not apply to you, but, you may have other options, such as lowering your Chapter 13 plan payment.
- Credit cards—Contact the card issuer. Many will allow you to skip payments, without penalties. But you still will owe the balance, plus interest!! And many won’t report the missed payments. But, you have to call and ask! Get an email confirmation from them too!
- Student loans—payments automatically paused, even automatic payments, collections and tax intercepts, and interest stopped until September 30, 2020. You don’t have to ask for this, it’s automatic, but, it only applies to Federal Student Loans, NOT Private loans held by other banks such as Chase or Discover, or other lenders. Check your loan statements, or the nslds.gov website to see if yours are Federal Loans, because they would appear on your account on that website. More details are here.
- Business owners- Two Programs to help you keep your business running and to pay yourself or your employees: the EDIL Disaster relief – a Grant of $10,000.00, plus a loan you can apply for, and the PPP- Paycheck Protection Program. It’s important to apply ASAP, because the time is limited, and so is the money available! See my Blog for information and links to both programs here.
- Utilities: Contact them for help here: ComEd, Peoples’ Gas, NorthShore Gas
The most important thing is to ACT NOW, and contact your bill collectors (Creditors) now, and get help now, so that you aren’t faced with tougher problems later. It will be hard for everyone, but you can help control the situation now. Call me if you need help too! I’m here to help you though this tough time. I’ve been helping people in Chicagoland and Northern Illinois for over 25 years, and can help you now.
Daniel J. Winter