Coronavirus Financial Questions, Answers, and Resources
The coronavirus, also known as COVID-19, is having a significant impact on households, communities, and businesses globally. We’ve covered some of the most common financial questions and concerns that people have had so far. Take a look below for information and direction to government websites and available assistance that may be relevant to your situation.
The U.S. government and various organizations have implemented assistance programs and stimulus packages to provide help to Americans whose lives have been affected by COVID-19. Most recently, the U.S. government committed to a $2 trillion economic stimulus package.
Coronavirus Stimulus Check
The U.S. government will be mailing checks or sending direct deposits to most Americans. This one-time payment could give many up to $1,200 to help during the financial struggle caused by major economic shutdowns over the last month.
The amount you will receive will depend on your total income in 2019 or 2018. Here’s what you need to know about receiving this payment:
Who qualifies for a payment?
- If you’re a single U.S. resident and have an adjusted gross income of less than $99,000.
- If you file as the head of a household and earn under $146,500.
- If you file jointly without children and earn less than $198,000.
How much will my stimulus check be?
You can get a good idea of what kind of payment to expect from this stimulus check calculator created by the Washington Post. The general breakdown is as follows:
- Single households may receive up to $1,200 and married couples $2,400.
- Parents also receive $500 for each qualifying child.
Do I need to do anything or apply for anything to receive my check?
Most people do not need to take action. Payments will be distributed automatically within the next three weeks.
What if I didn’t file a tax return in 2018 or 2019?
People typically not required to file a tax return: including low-income taxpayers, senior citizens, Social Security recipients, some veterans, persons with disabilities, or retirees will need to file a simple tax return to receive the payment. The IRS.gov website will provide more information on this soon.
The IRS has set up a page to post updates and news regarding the Economic Income Payment. Keep an eye on irs.gov for current information.
Additionally, you can keep up with IRS updates via social media:
Employee Rights During COVID-19
From April 1, 2020, until December 31, 2020, certain employers will be required by the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA or Act) to provide employees with paid sick leave and expanded family and medical leave for reasons related to COVID-19. Employers under this act must provide employees with certain accommodations.
Employees are entitled to take leave related to COVID-19 if the employee is unable to work, including telework, for reasons such as:
- A Federal, State, or local quarantine or isolation order related to COVID-19.
- Advisement by a health care provider to self-quarantine related to COVID-19.
- Experiencing COVID-19 symptoms and is seeking a medical diagnosis.
- Caring for an individual subject to a federal, state, or local quarantine or isolation order or self-quarantine order.
- Caring for their child whose school or place of care is closed due to COVID-19.
- Experiencing any other substantially-similar condition specified by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
Get more info from the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA or Act) poster distributed by the Department of Labor.
Difficulty Making Rent, Credit Card, Car Insurance and Other Payments
If you’ve been affected financially due to COVID-19 and are unable to make certain payments, you have a few options. Here are the facts:
- The federal government is ordering mortgage companies to allow people to make reduced payments or to skip payments. You must have suffered financial hardship related to the coronavirus outbreak in order to qualify.
- Various jurisdictions have halted foreclosures and evictions temporarily.
- You should contact landlords or loan servicers directly if you cannot make April or May payments.
- Many banks and financial institutions are offering assistance such as deferred payments, refunds on fees, and no negative credit bureau reporting. Take a look at the American Bankers Association for a running list of banks across the nation with their announced policies and relief options to the COVID-19 crisis.
- Federally-held student loans will have no interest until September 30, 2020.
- If you hold student loans through other lenders, you should contact your loan servicer directly to discuss options. You can get more guidance on what to expect at consumerfinance.gov.
Phone, Internet, and Utilities
Many phone and internet companies are suspending late fees, disconnects on missed payments, and offering services like unlimited data or free hotspots. It’s best to contact your provider directly or checking out their website for current information. Here are some of the most common provider responses by company:
- AT&T: No disconnects or late fees when customers can’t pay their bills because of coronavirus disruptions. Also providing free access to its public WiFi hot spots. The company also said its consumer home internet wireline customers and fixed wireless internet customers would receive unlimited data. Read more updates at att.com.
- Comcast: Free Xfinity WiFi hotspots for the next 60 days, unlimited data free of charge for all customers, no late fees, or disconnects if the customer contacts Comcast directly. Learn more at comcast.com.
- CenturyLink: Waiving late fees, unlimited data and no disconnects for 60 days. More on their policy at centurylink.com.
- Spectrum Mobile: No late fees, free WiFi hotspots, no disconnects for 60 days. Read their policy at spectrum.com.
- T-Mobile: Unlimited data to all current customers who have plans with data for the next 60 days. It will also provide additional data to mobile hotspot users. Learn more at t-mobile.com.
- Verizon: Verizon said it is waiving late fees and won’t be disconnecting service for customers impacted by COVID-19. Stay up to date on their assistance at verizon.com.
Many utility companies have suspended shut-offs and late payments due to non-payment at least through the end of April. To ensure you are not affected by shut-off or late fees due to COVID-19 related financial issues, it’s best to contact your provider directly.
Income Tax Deadline Extended
The Treasury, IRS, and federal government have extended the deadline to FILE and PAY federal income taxes to July 15, 2020. Taxpayers getting a refund are encouraged to file their taxes now to get their money. Here are the main points to know on this topic:
- The July 15 extension applies to all taxpayers automatically. You do not need to file an extension past April 15.
- Tax refunds are not expected to be delayed. The IRS has said they expect to process refunds as usual, but encourage all taxpayers to file now.
- You have until July 15 to make a 2019 contribution to your IRA.
- Most states are conforming to the July 15 tax deadline extension, but some states have different deadlines. You can find more info here.
The economic impacts of the coronavirus outbreak are constantly evolving, but the Loan at Last team is committed to helping you stay up-to-date and informed on navigating the financial impacts many are experiencing. We hope you remain safe and take care of yourself and your loved ones.