Like millions of Americans right this minute – your head is spinning. As if wrapping your head around the idea of living through an actual pandemic isn’t enough, now you must keep up with getting laid off. Maybe you’ve already been laid off! If you feel like you’re living in an Instant Pot and the pressure cooker is set to high – you’re not alone. Luckily, the $2 trillion dollar coronavirus aid package has been passed into law. We’ve scrutinized the language so that we can provide you a cliff-notes style breakdown, along with some suggestions on how to put money back into your pocket and weather this new economic climate.
My handy dandy disclosure starts now: As awesome as we are, none of us here at LaBosco’s are credit counselors, so please do your own fact-checking before making any financial decisions. We are simply trying to provide a more concise breakdown of options that might be available to you.
“UNEMPLOYMENT ON STEROIDS”
Say hello to what Congressional leaders are calling “Unemployment on Steroids.” Cute, right? But, it really is a gigantic increase in what you’d normally be eligible for and here’s how: part of the bipartisan deal struck by the Congress indicates an increase in unemployment insurance by $600 per week for four months and has expanded its eligibility requirements. This money is in addition to what states pay as a base unemployment salary. This can be done whether you were laid off OR just had a reduction in hours. Huffington Post reports that “Workers will be eligible even if they’re not in traditional jobs, if they work only part-time, or if they are self-employed. Gig workers, independent contractors, and freelancers will also be eligible.” Payouts are also going to be expedited. What would normally take 3-6 weeks to get your benefits is promised to take a lot less. Pro tip: the system is likely bogged down, so try to access it at night! Apply for Unemployment benefits immediately at floridajobs.org
COMMUNITY ECONOMIC RELIEF IS A REAL THING
The United Way has a COVID-19 Community Economic Relief Fund. They might be able to help with bills, rent, and food. You can call 211 and provide your zip code and you will be given a list of local agencies to who may be able to provide assistance.
CREDIT CARD COMPANIES ARE BEING FRIENDLY
Call your credit card company. It is extremely likely that most credit card companies have some kind of program in place to suspend payments…and if they don’t, I sure bet they get mandated to at some point.
UTILITIES COMPANIES ARE ALSO BEING FRIENDLY
Call your utilities companies, as most have suspended cutting people off. FPL is directing customers to FPL.com/help and the City of Port Orange announced, through at least April 15th, they will not be cutting off water and will not charge late fees. We expect neighboring cities to adopt the same protocol.
YES, PEOPLE ARE HIRING!
Some companies such as Amazon, Target, Perrine’s, Walmart, and Publix are trying to hire immediately, due to increased demand. Other companies such as UPS, Fedex, delivery companies, and other grocery stores may also be looking to hire temporarily as well, in addition to other medical manufacturing places that are stretched to capacity right now.
STUDENT LOAN PAYMENTS CEASE (TEMPORARILY)
Stressing over student loan payments? Good news – According to CNN, “The Department of Education would suspend payments on student loan borrowers without penalty through September 30, according to the bill.” The Feds have set the interest rates on federal student loans to a whopping zero percent. Cue the happy dance because, in addition to that assistance, the Education Department said the federal government will no longer withhold portions of borrowers’ tax returns and Social Security payments! And you can temporarily kiss any paycheck garnishments goodbye because you’re now entitled to your full wage for at least two straight months. BUT – your employer might need to make this change manually to your check, so jump on the phone with HR right now and get it sorted out quickly.
YOUR CHECK IS IN THE MAIL SOON, MAYBE.
Hopefully the government will be sending those stimulus checks soon (likely mid-April to early May)! As the plan stands now, individuals whose adjusted gross income qualify receive $1,200. The more you earn, however, the less you get…and if you make $99k or more you get nothing. Individuals and couples who qualify with children would be eligible for an additional $500 for each child they have under the age of 17. Qualifying income will be based on your most recent completed tax return.
BUT I NEED CASH TODAY, LIKE, RIGHT NOW!
Reduced rate, short term loans are currently being offered at LaBosco’s. We will be flexible with you on paybacks and have a mobile payment option so you don’t have to visit the store monthly. Interested in hearing more? Go hit that Chat function at the bottom of our site! No need to stress about your loans and layaway with us because we will, as we always have, work with you. Concerned about our hours of operations and staying up to date? Check our COVID-19 FAQ page!