Below are the top ways to keep your money safe if you have been financially affected by COVID-19.
Get In Control of Your Bills
- Contact your financial institutions. They may cancel late fees or allow you to delay making payments without penalty. Ask for written confirmation of any agreement(s) you negotiate. Contact your financial institution for specific information on available assistance; this list outlines ways that some banks are helping customers during the COVID-19 crisis.
- Contact creditors. If you are going to have trouble making payments, contact your creditors to discuss payment plans and options. Creditors could include companies that provide you with credit cards, personal or business loans, or student loans. Once you have confirmed new payment schedules with your financial institutions and creditors, make payments in the order they are due.
- Check for mortgage or rent payment suspensions. Local information and support for renters and homeowners can be found here.
- Contact your insurance companies to check premium payment deadlines. Some auto, rent, and homeowner insurance companies are issuing payment grace periods or offering financial assistance, waivers, and payment extensions to customers.
- Manage your utilities. Check with your utility company to ensure you do not face service interruption.
- Contact your student loan provider. For qualifying federally-held student loans, interest has been set to 0% and payments have been suspended. For loans that qualify, those benefits have been automatically enacted and are in effect until September 30, 2021. If your loans are not eligible for these benefits, check with your student loan provider on what repayment plans are available to you.
Apply for Benefits
- Apply for Unemployment Assistance if you have lost your job or any portion of your wages. Learn more on how to apply.
- File your taxes. The filing deadline for federal tax returns has been extended from April 15 to May 17, however, the IRS urges taxpayers who are owed a refund to file as quickly as possible. For those who can’t file by the May 17, 2021 deadline, the IRS reminds individual taxpayers that everyone is eligible to request an extension to file their return. Please note this tax relief is only applicable to federal income tax returns; state filings and payment schedules may vary. Check with your state tax agency to find the filing and payment deadlines.
- Claim other government benefits. Check with your city government to see what benefits are being made available for those who are impacted by COVID-19.
Protect Your Money
- Beware of products, services, or unsolicited phone calls related to COVID-19. Never give your personal details, such as any account numbers, credit card numbers, or Social Security number over the phone to anyone unknown to you or claiming to be from a government agency. Government agencies do not make unsolicited calls to residents, so if you encounter a scam or believe that you are victim of fraud, contact your local authorities or State Attorney General to file a complaint. If someone contacts you claiming to be from a federal government agency such as the IRS or ICE, submit a complaint to the Federal Trade Commission (www.ftc.gov).
- Open a safe banking account online to protect your money. Bank and credit union accounts, particularly those certified as meeting the Bank On National Account Standards, can support you to receive wages and government benefits safely and securely, using direct deposit. Bank On accounts are not subject to surprise fees – especially for overdraft, insufficient funds, and inactivity. Many Bank On certified accounts can be opened online to ensure the account opening process is safe and seamless.