FOOD AND FINANCIAL RELIEF

COVID-19 FINANCIAL RELIEF AND STRATEGIES

Currently, there are a number of measures being considered to help families financially over the coming weeks. So far, most larger companies that are closing are committing to pay employees. Retail and service industries like restaurants, movie theaters, etc., will be the hardest hit, especially in areas that are requiring those establishments to eliminate in-person service or shut down completely. People who anticipate having trouble making payments should review the “Steps to Take” list below. They should also seek financial assistance options in their areas (see “Financial Assistance Resources” section below).


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.
  • Get clarity, where possible, from your income sources as to what the reality will look like over the coming weeks.
  • 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: food, utilities, shelter, transportation. 

DEFER PAYMENTS:

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: Federal student loan payments suspended with no interest during COVID-19 pandemic.
  • If you’re paying extra on debt(s) right now and have less than one to two months’ worth of expenses in an emergency fund, it might not be a bad idea to temporarily stop extra payments and then restart them once things settle down.
  • Enroll for health insurance if you can.
  • Use this week to get a game plan together and gather information, as there may be more changes coming.



NATIONAL RELIEF MEASURES

(Updated 3/22)

EFFECTIVE IMMEDIATELY:

  • Interest is being waived on federal student loans. Details are still being finalized, but it sounds like monthly payments won’t be reduced. Instead, more of the minimum payment will go to principal, since they won’t be charging interest. In short, this won’t result in short-term relief.
  • The IRS has said tax payments will be deferred with no interest or penalties for 90 days.
  • Foreclosures and evictions will be suspended on all HUD-owned properties until the end of April.
  • Foreclosures will be suspended for 60 days on mortgages backed by the FHA, Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac .
  • Free COVID-19 testing to anyone, regardless of insurance status
  • 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).
  • Paid sick leave for two weeks (employers with fewer than 500 employees).


PROPOSED IDEAS, NOT YET IN PLACE:

  • Potential payroll tax cut for employees through the end of 2020 (Social Security 6.2% and Medicare 1.45%). This would mean eliminating these tax deductions out of paychecks.
  • Stimulus checks sent directly to American households in two rounds. The first round would begin April 6 and the second would be May 18. The amount is unknown, but estimates are  between $1,000 - $1,500 for every person. Amounts could vary based on income, family size.
  • $300 billion small business loan program to provide companies with 500 or less employees access to funds to continue paying employees.


LOCAL RELIEF MEASURES

  • 24/7 Assistance 211 Helpline
  • Updates for Illinois residents
  • Updates for Lake County residents
  • Updates for Wisconsin residents
  • Updates for Kenosha County residents
  • Resources for Families and Children, Seniors, Medical Providers and Facilities plus additional resources from the CDC.
  • Loans for small businesses 
  • Unemployment insurance
  • Illinois taxpayer information

FOOD ASSISTANCE


Northern Illinois Food Bank, United Way Lake County provide more food to Waukegan food pantries 

Free food pantries in Waukegan | Lake County IL food banks

211 Lake County

Where to Donate Food Items in Lake County 2017



UTILITIES


CELL PHONE/INTERNET
  • Xfinity will not disconnect or add late fees for customers who contact the company. Customers will have unlimited data for 60 days, and Xfinity Wi-Fi hotspots will be free for anyone. New customers will also get access to 60 days of free Internet Essentials service (25 Mbps).
  • AT&T, Verizon, and Sprint will not terminate or add late fees for the next 60 days. Public Wi-Fi hotspots are also open and customers will receive unlimited Internet data. 
  • T-Mobile advises customers with past-due amounts to set up payment arrangements online. 

12. Driver’s license expiring? Driver services in Illinois temporarily closing due to COVID-19 concerns

13. Need help paying for an AbbVie prescription? Patient Assistance - Patients

14. List of insurance providers and what their plans offer during Covid 19

Health Insurance Providers Respond to Coronavirus (COVID-19)